Independent Trainers – How to Over Deliver Your Way to Repeat Business Blog Post 11 by Matthew Hill

Dreams in the Class Room of Excellence and Happiness

In our efforts to populate LinkedIn with wit and wisdom and our nervous attempts at closing the customer to sign the contract, it is easy to overlook the biggest weapon in the independent trainer’s arsenal – Over Delivery – Going the extra mile, exceeding the participant’s expectation, overfilling the client brief and producing super effective training.

Study Group Discussion University Concept

“Wow! That’s cool”

What does Over Delivery on your core training look like?

You know when you have achieved it as the room hums with an energetic buzz, everyone listens to you effortlessly and it appears that you have all just acquired a new super language – Empathy with a splash of telepathy.

Eureka moments of insight lead the participants to utter the magic words, “Oh, NOW I get it!” and ”Wow! That’s cool.” It is about putting so much effort into the teaching and training that the output is extraordinary – Breakthroughs happen frequently, the difficult is made fluid and linear and even the quietest members starts to contribute to the debate.

WIIFT? What is in it for them?

Many regular key note speakers are tempted in the training room to play the broken record of THEIR profound thoughts, models and ideas. This is not what is required. It is all about the pupil. What do the participants feel they are struggling with? What do they need to grasp in order to move forward? What are they not quite sure of yet? Giving up the egocentric performer role is critical to getting bigger, better and repeating trainer bookings.


What’s in it for THEM?

NEW is new

When I introduce new exercises and feel distinctly uncomfortable kicking off a training class with a fresh group, especially with a long established course that is now in a NEW format, I experience the same “first day at school” feeling as when starting out in training and speaking all those years ago. It makes me smile on the inside when I experience the conflict between the inner confidence of knowing the theory and the awkward outer doubt of wondering how everyone will get along with the new activities.


My mediator wife taught me, many years ago, to start every session with a participant contract called THE RULES – I use about 7. The most important being, “Be Teachable”. It is remarkable how getting everyone to verbally sign up to the contact helps to accelerate the norming forming and storming phases more effectively. The contract then takes on an authority all of its own. Repeat business will never follow if you lose touch with the class or let a disturbed member of the group break the spell for the rest of them.


Intake, Intake, Intake

Related to WIIFT?, successful teaching is about catering for the needs of the class. I made a big mistake earlier in the year in this area and learnt a lot. The briefing L&D manager from the organisation uttered a few fateful words, “We don’t have any problems here – Everyone gets on well.” For some reason my cynicism levels were unusually low that day and I took him at face value. What followed was a training day car crash of half expressed pain by the group, clashing with my blind determination that this “normal” group should push on through any resistance they were feeling because…they did not have any problems – WRONG on so many levels.

I will never fall for that one again.

If you can identify the gap, need, want and desire of the class, you can work your magic, over deliver and come back for more.

Hand over plenty of control

Over the years I have learnt to delegate, empower and enjoy spotting and encouraging high potential quiet types, encouraging them to take to the stage. It has worked well. Giving a voice to those who have plenty to contribute but are rarely heard is a wonder gift to bestow.

Validating and acknowledging the quiet voices can really change the dynamics of any training and bring out the very best from the rest of the cohort.

Big Finish

Making the group responsible for the training summary and their individual and group action plan by creating a “team charter”, has had beneficial results over the years. When stretched, most executives feel the freedom to come up with wild and creative ideas that will thrill the training facilitator and surprise their colleagues as well.

bwl-studenten arbeiten zusammen am flipchart

Build a Team Charter together

Follow up for Retention

With ever increasing time constraints, the average trained executive is normally forced to rush back to the pile of urgent e mails and fight a fire that has started during their absence from the office. A brief call 10 days after the session seems to work wonders for retention and application. 3 profound questions to ask are; 1) What do you remember?, 2) What is working? And, 3), the deep one, What is NOT working? That will normally provide the impetus to reinforce the key learning messages and sort out the forgotten material as well as keeping the spotlight on any unresolved issues.

Quality of materials

The other simple trick to get repeat business is to focus on the quality of your materials and activities – Creating striking visuals, getting the group to walk around a gallery, allowing for reflection time, providing plenty of positive and specific feedback and, critically, making sure the lunch is not the normal limp sandwiches and crisp affair that the participants are completely fed up with.


By applying the marginal gains theory and improving every step of your process by 5%, you will create a participant experience that is far superior to anything they have witnessed before. Be sure to capture their rapture when they are in a peak state. Then is the moment to hand out the “happy sheets.”


For more ideas on how establish and grow your Independent Trainer Business we invite you to join us for the Independent Trainer Consultative Selling Webinar 3 – GOING FOR GROWTH, on 5th October 2016, 6PM London time, 7PM Paris time. Register now at; 

tram on narrow street of Alfama, Lisbon

Nothing beats to Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal



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