Josh Yager is a coach, trainer, and head of marketing at Mad City Windows.
Joshua Yager is a coach, trainer, and head of marketing at Mad City Windows, which has six locations in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. When Yager first came on as marketing director for Mad City in 2016, the department was a team of one. In less than two years, he’d grown the staff to over 150. He came into the position with years of work experience in marketing and leadership, but like many of the most successful professionals he had been preparing for this role long before he began “preparing” for their roles.
The Power of Self
“I wasn’t the best student in high school—not the best grades nor attitude,” admits Yager. He says it was wrestling and his coach in particular that changed him.
“Coach Ward made a big impact on my life, whipped me into shape at a time when I needed it. He showed me that my grades, my motivations, how I performed on the mat, they were all things I could control.”
That mentality shaped Yager in college, where he studied kinesiology, with ambitions of being a strength conditioning coach, and it continued shaping him as a professional, starting with his first job out of college at Gold’s Gym. He was a personal trainer and marketing manager.
“Personal training is selling the business, health, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and also yourself,” Yager says. “I found that if you want people to change, you need to be influential.”
Effectiveness Through Structure
Yager brought those lessons to Mad City: the importance of personal responsibility and the ability to empower others into that mindset. But first he had a stint at State Farm, where he learned another important principle.
“If you don’t have a training platform, people won’t buy-in to your methods,” he says. “Selling insurance and having to get licensed, it requires structures and systemization. I learned that those were useful.”
A regimented training program gives people the chance to buy-in to a company and its process rather than just trying to teach the process outright, he says. At Mad City, that program begins with company culture.
“Everyone from managers to employees need to understand the company, its direction, and its services and products before they can be motivated and optimistic.”
Under Yager’s leadership, his department onboards each employee with a multi-week training program that begins with teaching the company’s history. “We explain what we do, who we are, and why if they needed work done on their own homes they would want to hire Mad City.” Any company can install windows, he says. “If employees don’t understand the true value your company is bringing, then how can anyone expect them to be excited about the work or even stay with the company. We’re giving them skills they can take with them to any number of jobs, but we want them to want to be here.”
After two weeks of introduction, employees spend another one to two weeks in the field, watching how current team members use their own enthusiasm to help influence customers.
“A script is just a script until you see someone using it who believes in what they’re saying—believes in the company and the products.”
Everything is mapped out a Mad City. Yager’s program has two weeks onboarding, two weeks shadowing, and then reviews at 30, 60, and 90 days. There is additional training here and there, and plenty of team building activities like lunches and regular casual conservations to maintain the atmosphere of open communication. This, he says, is key to keeping employees honest, motivated, and optimistic. But as Yager learned early in life, if you’re training during the match you’ve already lost. “You the lay the groundwork so they’re ready to win before it begins."