The season for the social gathering of trainers and coaches is about to begin. There will be some wonderful events. And, as the red wine flows half of the trainers and coaches in any group will start to quietly complain – about the number of days they got this year, the fees they received per subcontract day and how their income is not necessarily keeping up with rent or the cost of bringing up children.
The truth is, independent trainers and coaches risk getting caught in a 5-part trap.
- Discounts – Volume training providers are paying subcontractors an ever decreasing amount of training money in real terms. The promise of volume attracts high potential individuals who sacrifice a lot of time and a little pride to travel hard, work hard but not necessarily to earn hard.
- Scarcity of time – Following on from cheap training days, the downward spiral demands sacrificing more of your 200 days a year to delivering discounted training, leaving less time to develop your own ideas for outstanding training material, to build your own network and to win your own customers.
- Brand – The more time you spend as a subcontractor the less opportunity you are taking to develop, what is potentially, your most valuable attribute – you, your brand, your reputation and a healthy market perception of your value (which is PREMIUM in case you needed reminding!)
- Assets – When you use other people’s material you are gaining valuable experience but you are not necessarily spending time creating your own capital assets. You are not creating training products that stand as INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – ones that attract a premium fee from quality customers.
- Networking – With each flight, train or car journey coming back from a distant subcontract customer you are giving away your travel time for free and missing the opportunity to build your social and professional connections in a way that will generate better income.
Don’t get me wrong. A blend of subcontract days with premium direct training days provides an amazing variety of experience, a great income and the opportunity to do more of what you love. My point is simple. Most people slide into the trap of too much subcontract and not enough premium. Or… No premium days at all!
All this can change. The post headline enquires as to your plans for 2016. As part of your relaxing downtime with family and friends over the Christmas break, will you be thinking of up scaling and upgrading your business next year? Will you be taking out your pen and Moleskine and making ambitious plans? And will these plans convert into solid actions? And will these actions result in getting paid more for delivering premium training days?
There are many suggestions and insights that can help. Here are just three?
- Create a Product for Prospects – Take the time to write a white paper, executive briefing document or community resource that will be appreciated by your target market. Put it on a website or in a newsletter and ask a small action in return – request an e mail or entering the prospect’s first name and e mail in a box. This simple trade moves your prospect from observer to light action taker.
- Market not product – By making a subtle shift away from talking about the unique qualities of YOU it is possible to engage with more senior decision makers (as opposed to battling with middle ranking L&D professionals that only have the power to say “No!” and not the insight to sponsor you within their organisation.) Invest effort in looking at the bigger picture and collect irresistible data and stories that will be of genuine interest to business heads. Engage them in adult debate about market threats and challenges. This will give you the opportunity to position your offering as a solution to their current pain.
- Charge more – The moment your start to value yourself more highly, the market will increase their perceived value of you as well. It is time to stop the scarcity script and acknowledge your own incredible depth of experience and charge accordingly…
When you think about it, €20,000 would make quite a difference to you next year. €10,000 would make a difference to you next year. For many independent trainers, €5,000 extra would make a difference next year. That is only TWO premium training days!
If the Intercultural Training Channel Community are interested in this topic, I will expand its prominence in the newsletter over the coming months. Ideas include concrete suggestions for improving your consultative selling skills, webinars that tackle the specific marketing, networking and selling issues you face and running more Consultative Selling Boot Camps in both Amsterdam and London in 2016.
Please feel free to indicate your level of interest, and tell me what particular topics would be of most value to you. It will be great to be guided by the reader as to the topics you wish to learn about. I look forward to hearing from you.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org