Boosting Your Training Company Sales with Tried and True Tactics
Key Takeaway: Increasing course sales starts with providing a high-value learning experience that your clients can’t get from other training companies. Find out how:
- Know where your clients are lacking in training
- Offer courses that other training companies aren’t
- Offer a large variety of courses that branch into similar topics
- Use multiple learning methods to cater to the client
- Schedule only the most qualified instructors for each course
- Bundle courses and offer group discounts
- Create a seamless and exciting training experience
It’s been a strange few years, hasn’t it? On the one hand, every organization in the world has felt the strain of challenging economic conditions, with mass layoffs and business closures announced every week… but on the other hand, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Despite the obvious difficulties, it seems to be an exciting time for companies that have announced record growth — especially those who have adapted to the world of remote work and the rise of global teams. Organizations are no longer limited to hiring talent within commuting distance of the office as most businesses now have a literal “world” of talent.
With the new opportunities unlocked by an increased personnel network comes a need for efficient, structured training that reaches every member of your team wherever they are. This is where companies may seek out the services of one of the dedicated training companies specializing in their industry, whether that’s a heavily regulated industry like pharmaceuticals and airlines or an industry that requires multiple checks and balances like food and beverage.
With companies in all verticals ready to prepare their workforce for new talent this presents an exciting opportunity for training companies to capitalize on the explosion in demand for global training. So, if you’re a training company looking to increase course sales and retain your customers in this hot market, what can you do?
We list seven key strategies to implement in your next sales meeting to help boost course sales for your training operation.
1. Know where your clients are lacking in training
When it comes to winning your clients’ business in selling training courses, the key is to “show them you know them.”
In your discovery phase of new and returning clients, scope out where your client may be lacking in relation to where the company stands in their industry and with their competition. Sometimes your clients are so close to their own training offering that they can’t always see where the gaps are… and these training gaps are often highlighted first by a skills gap.
For instance, is there an emerging technology in your client’s industry that they will need to know about in the near future? Is there new legislation coming in that will require regulated training and certification? As their training company, you’re in the perfect position to research your client’s existing training proficiency and know what else is missing from their workforce’s knowledge.
Even on the surface where it may look like clients may be up to par for their industry, there’s always an opportunity to get them ahead of the curve in skillsets. In reviewing their current training plan try, ask yourself what critical components they could be missing, like:
- Are there gaps in their soft skills training?
- What have the company’s employees been eager to learn about?
- Where has performance been lagging?
- What do stakeholders or clients complain the most about in terms of ROI?
- Is your team cohesive across all departments? Can they work well with the same team in another country?
This could even include key issues in human talent that haven’t been addressed by their L&D or HR team in recent years. For instance, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and sensitivity training have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many organizations won’t have thought about adding this to their training program yet, putting you in a strong position to offer content they might need.
What’s the most efficient way to help your client? Performance data and analytics. Retrieve data and analytics on your client’s training performance in your training analytics portal and analyze any abnormalities in how the company has achieved its past training goals. Turn these weaknesses into opportunities and not only help your client set and achieve goals to fill the gaps in their training program, but improve your training operations and logistics.
2. What courses can you offer that other training companies aren’t?
Lectured in possibly every MBA-level strategy course, the introduction of Blue Ocean Strategy made waves among CEOs in 2004 for its unorthodox approach towards marketing strategy. In short, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne both argued that if too many companies are offering roughly the same product or service in a market, companies will naturally be competitive in exhausting their resources until there’s a market leader (Red Ocean). However, this head-on confrontation with other businesses could be averted if companies could create a new market space (Blue Ocean) that offers essentially the same product or service but delivered in a new exciting way that clients can benefit from.
The same concept goes for training companies looking to edge out other training companies bidding for a prospective client’s business. A great way to gain a competitive edge over other training companies is to offer unique courses. If you can fill the gap in the market, customers will naturally come to you for the content they need.
Sometimes this can be achieved by being the first to bring a new topic to market. This is why it can (literally) pay to keep an eye on industry regulations and trends so you can get ahead of the curve and create content your clients need before they even know they need it.
Of course, supplying unique training is easier said than done! With so many training companies out there, it’s inevitable that at least some of your competitors will have the same ideas as you. In this case, training managers need to ask themselves how can they make their course offerings better than their competition? This can span a variety of options from improving the course selection experience to offering customized courses that meet the specific needs of your client down to the last assignment.
One particular route that will set you apart is to offer certifications or licenses approved by their industry’s governing body through your training program. Learners and organizations like certifications, as it gives them something tangible for their training efforts, so if you can offer this as an option, it will make your training far more appealing to increase training revenue.
However you decide to set yourself apart from other training companies, always strive and innovate to make sure you’re not just another alternative offering the same course.
3. Offer a larger variety of training courses that branch into similar fields
You don’t need to stick resolutely to each client’s industry when you’re thinking about the training they might need. The industry lines in today’s world of work are becoming increasingly blurred, and L&Ds understand that employees don’t always want to follow one set career path. Topics from outside their industry can still be valuable and interesting, so don’t assume that a client won’t want to see training from a related industry. Similar to the previous point made above, offering related courses could be a great opportunity to cross-sell training programs they may be interested in.
Take one hypothetical example of a hotel and resort chain in need of onboarding specific departments across their global portfolio. The training company assigned to develop the training plan would be expected to include sessions that include how to use specific technologies like a new hotel reservation system, hotel staff management procedures or even how to prepare a full course banquet for a business conference.
Akin to this, the training company may want to think about what other courses or training programs they can offer that can supplement those course needs. Perhaps in preparing the course on the new hotel booking system the training manager sees an opportunity to provide additional course offerings on database and financial security or the best methods to partner with destination management organizations (DMO) and tourism boards.
A great start to start cross-selling is to include training from related industries to the “recommended content” in your training sales portal. A slight tweak to your algorithm such as adding the similar topic/category tags means more impressions or “course offering displays” to your clients. This soft sell approach will help you gauge interest levels, so you can decide whether or not to pursue this route.
If recommending content on their training dashboard wasn’t enough, training companies can become the primary consultant in a company’s reskilling and upskilling efforts. Training companies are at a sweet spot once they’ve been contracted to develop a training program for their clients. Once their foot is in the door, they have the opportunity to converse with internal L&D or HR teams to discuss department and employee-focused goals. From here training managers can access data regarding skillsets that employees at all levels wish to sharpen or acquire for their career tool belt.
4. Apply a variety of learning methods to suit your client’s needs
While the concept of “learning styles” has been debunked, it’s still true that different learner groups prefer different approaches. Your client will have the best insight into how their own people want to learn, so be sure to find out exactly which approach works best for each group.
Is your client more hands-on or do they prefer the speed and convenience of online training? Do they prefer interactive and collaborative workshops or more traditional seminars led by a subject matter expert? Whichever it is, knowing each client’s preferences will put you in a good position to increase training revenue.
In many cases, the most successful approach is to opt for blended learning programs. A combination of instructor-led training (ILT), virtual instructor-led training (vILT), gamification, e-learning, instructional videos and online resources ensures you provide the most engaging customer training experience that tailors to the learner’s needs.
Let’s take a client in that’s involved in manufacturing and production as an example. More than likely if their learners are craftsmen, machine operators or field engineers they’ll need to be on-site and working in-person at the facility to familiarize themselves with tools and machinery. But not every aspect of training needs to be delivered in person and on-site. Training companies may opt to use a hybrid learning approach where courses like health and safety training and proficiency assignments can be conducted virtually in conjunction with in-person sessions. The virtual instruction method is also supplemented with an LMS where employees can review recorded instructional videos on how a particular machine is used or how safety procedures are implemented in case of an emergency.
Outside of businesses that operate mainly in-person, you may have a client with a geographically dispersed or predominantly remote workforce. The same principles apply except you would need to tailor training to where your learners are located in terms of time zone and what methods work best for completing the training program on time.
A good tip here is to reuse, repurpose and reformat your content for different clients. For instance, you could record a vILT session and turn it into a series of short videos, which can then be accessed via learners’ cell phones or built into a microlearning program.
5. Provide the most qualified instructors for each course
With so many training companies for clients to choose from, those providing high-quality courses and programs will stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to ILT and vILT, it’s not just a case of assigning any instructor from your list. The way to turn one-time customers into returning customers is to find the best-fit instructor for each course based on a variety of factors. Normally these will depend on selection based on a variety of criteria including industry experience, background, training methods implemented, languages spoken and certifications and licenses held.
Of course, with most training companies in charge of running a global operation, filtering through a list of instructors sounds a lot easier said than done. With hundreds of instructors on your roster, it would take an unbelievable amount of time to sift through this – and that’s not even accounting for availability.
Instead of zig-zagging your eyes across multiple instructor schedules and spreadsheets, be sure to utilize the instructor scheduling portal within your training resource management system (TRMS) to help you quickly filter the right instructor for the right time. By setting quick filters on your list juxtaposed to your training course calendar you’ll be able to schedule an instructor to ILT or vILT courses who checks all the boxes for your course’s requirements.
Why is getting the most qualified instructors for your courses important? The better your courses the higher the likelihood of positive learner feedback, which in turn increases the likelihood of your clients coming back for more courses.
6. Offer course bundles and group discounts
Everyone loves a packaged deal that has all the goods and it’s no different when selling courses to customers. Bundling and packaging is a tried and true strategy for upselling as it incentivizes clients to purchase more training from you at the benefit of receiving additional training for a lower price.
Many training companies deal with large contracts, often with hundreds or even thousands of learners. Lots of learners means lots of courses to be delivered. The volume of which means that your training company will have to take advantage of economies of scale.
A great option for training companies dealing with large clients is to incentivize those clients to buy training packages in bulk to lower the upfront cost. This marketing strategy can be executed in multiple ways:
- Offer a reduced cost for the same training course offered on different scheduled dates
- Include a “course bundle” where clients can save a significant percentage on their main courses of interest
- Provide a “special packages” where you bundle the cost of their primary course(s) with another course of interest in another topic at a discounted rate
The combinations of different training bundles and packages are almost limitless when taking into consideration the variety of courses you can offer. Couple that with the strategies we’ve listed so far and you’ll be in a solid position to sell more courses, increase profit and solidify your standing with your clients!
7. Provide a seamless training experience
“The first impression is the last impression” as some may say. With scoring a contract for a new training client it’s always in your best interest that the training program is orchestrated smoothly without delays or interruptions.
First impressions depend on a combination of factors. Some of the things you’ll need to consider to keep your clients coming back year after year include:
- Staying within budget: Making good use of their training budget to get the most value out of your training.
- Courses delivered on schedule and on time: Whether it’s ILT or vILT or a hybrid learning model, a set agenda with on-time instruction is best in class.
- Adequate resources: Having enough resources to carry out training. Whether that’s having the right number of instructors in every course or ensuring there are enough computers for your in-person seminar.
- Going the extra mile for the client: Attending to the client’s training needs and concerns before, during, and after training has ended. Essentially, ensuring the client and their learners took valuable and applicable training.
The better your client’s experience with you, the more likely they will be to come back for more training in the future – or even better, to recommend your services! Selling training courses isn’t always easy in a crowded market, but providing a seamless experience and taking the headache out of scheduling training for your clients will help you stand head and shoulders above your competitors.
Looking for a way to increase course sales for your training company? We’d love to help! The Training Orchestra TRMS is proven to increase training revenue, boost course sales and get real results for your clients. Book your demo today to see how it works
About Training Orchestra
For over 20 years, Training Orchestra has helped over 600 training companies, corporate L&D departments, and associations worldwide to address instructor-led training operations management challenges for their client, partner, member and employee training programs. From virtual and in-person learning instruction to managing hybrid learning operations for global companies, we’ve crafted the perfect training management system to address the most critical needs of training businesses and corporate L&D.
Ready to see how you can help your training organization to better manage training as a business? Contact Training Orchestra today to see how you can add efficiency and scale to your training operation today!