- Auditing trainers and their delivery quality doesn’t make me a good trainer, so please don’t crucify me by saying things like, “If you know what it takes to be a good trainer, why don’t you show me?” A good account auditor doesn’t make a good CFO. It’s two different thing. It’s like movie critics vs movie makers. Got it?
- Evaluation by participants on the values they received from the training is subjective and at times, cannot be used completely to determine the quality of the trainers and the training programmes. For example, a participant gave a very bad evaluation on the training content because it’s irrelevant to their job function. Upon contacting the respective company to find out more, the participant was asked by the direct supervisor to attend the course that s/he had no clue what it was all about.
- Training evaluation (as mentioned above) comes from the participants whereas training audit is carried out by instructional designers or programme developers.
This post is for those of you who market/ sell trainer(s) on a part-time or freelance basis.
Two years ago before I joined a training and consulting firm as an associate consultant, I was really stumped when the MD asked me to come on board to market and sell their trainers. I remember asking him, “What do you mean by the trainers can’t sell?” He told me they just don’t get out there and sell. That was precisely why he needed someone like me who can focus on bringing in sales.
It’s common sense in the business environment that if you can’t sell, you can’t survive especially when you’re the person who will need to deliver the training programmes. Corporate trainers can definitely brand and sell themselves, the question is in ‘How well are they doing it?’ or maybe they just don’t have the resources especially the freelance corporate trainers.
Let me just define what I mean by freelance corporate trainers. These are the corporate trainers who may or may not have company registered. Even if they have a private limited company, they’re the sole trainer of the company, usually owns a home or virtual office and no staff.
If you’re hired by a freelance corporate trainer to sell their training programmes, they’re either tied up with development and delivery of the training to have time to sell or they just don’t have the resources/ expertise to reach out to their target market. There are also freelance corporate trainers who want to hire marketers/ salesperson to expand their market and if you have a good network, they would want you.
Please remember that when you decide to market a freelance corporate trainer actively, you need to know how you’re compensated. Never enter into the deal where you don’t get paid until you make a sale. You’re not in the network marketing business. You need to be compensated for your time, effort and resources in marketing regardless or not you make a sale. Let me put this into a scenario.
A corporate trainer who owns a XYZ company wants you to come on board to market his/ her training and consulting services. Whether you work in an office or work from home, you’re spending time contacting and servicing clients for this company. To do this, you’re utilizing resources like electricity, Internet and telephone bills. You spend hours planning and scheduling training programmes, then sending out emails and making follow-up calls. These are all considered productive hours if you’re an employee! And productive hours are billable! Let’s just say, in a month, you don’t get a single sale close. Who’s at loss if you’re working based solely on sale commission? YOU!
XYZ company has already benefited from the brand awareness you’ve built for them. You’ve generating some sales leads for them. You’ve done the marketing! It’s really not too much to demand a service fee from them before you begin the marketing activities. I’m sure XYZ company would need to spend more money on advertisement or time in marketing their services on their own.
Know your worth. Charge a basic service fee plus sales commission of at least 20% from the training fee charged to the clients or if you’re organizing public training courses, charge from the gross profits. Why gross profits? This is sales commission, it’s not profit sharing. You, as the salesperson, need to be paid first for the sales you bring in.
However, in local context here in Malaysia, it’s a norm to have employees “imprisoned” at workplace from 9 – 5 from Monday to Friday. I worked in that environment for only about 4 years and I decided to get out of employment before I turned rotten at my chair.
I started to run my own freelance business where I could be flexible and I realized my productivity increased over 200%. This is because I don’t have designated hours that I must be at my desk, eat my lunch or leave work. When there are more projects to handle, I even work on weekends. It’s no longer about the time, it’s all about the results I produce.
There are still people who argue if this works in every type of jobs. Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s always worth figuring out ways to make it work and turn the company into a results-only workplace.
There is also this misconception that communication happens more effectively face-to-face. Yes and no. What makes you think that being in the same room with other people will necessarily generate productive and useful discussion? If something can be discussed over the phone, pick up the phone instead, or video-call them via Skype. Then, there’s instant messaging, texting, Twitter, Facebook! These technologies are available to help you save more time.
I don’t know about you but hypothetically if I do have an office to go to from 9 – 5 now, I would need to spend on average an hour getting ready to work, three hours travel time, two hours “communicating” with bosses, colleagues and clients. That’s 6 productive hours gone! Oh, by the way, I would be exhausted by the time I get home after work to be doing anything for myself. There’s also no time for personal development unless the company pays for training.
So, you see, a rigid working hours not only cause the employees to lose productivity but it also costs company money. Overhead costs are high when you have an office to maintain and most of your employees spend time not really focusing on the results anyway.
I would like to share with you this article written by April Joyner “Why Flexible Workplaces Are Good for Business” where she interviewed Jody Thompson, who developed Best Buy’s Results-Only Work Environment program. It explains the beauty of results-only workplace.Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net
When people ask me what I do, I never could get away with just a one word answer without going into the mode of explaining in details. I wish I could say something like, “I’m a doctor” or “I’m a lecturer” but no….the follow up question would come, “What exactly do you do?” or “What is an instructional designer?”
In layman terms, instructional design is a systematic process to develop a set of instructions and learning materials after analyzing the learners’ needs. It’s just like one of those instruction manuals that teaches you how to go about fixing something, only we develop the instructional manuals to assist trainers how to facilitate learning.
Do we instructional designers need to be content expert when it comes to designing the instructions? Not necessarily. But it certainly helps. I’m more confident with my work when I’m asked to develop manuals within my area of specialization such as sales and marketing related subjects or any other soft skills subjects. However, when it comes to technical subjects like root cause analysis, preventive management or something like PHP/MySQL training, that’s going to be tough on me.
Can we still develop instructional manual if we do not have the content knowledge? Definitely! You don’t need to know how to cook a meal to be a restaurant manager although it’s an added advantage. All you need to master is your managerial and communication skills. Even if you were to quit your job as a restaurant manager to take up a job in managing a sales department in the consumer electronic industry, you can still perform your job.
Before I end this post, I would also like to answer this one question asked, “Is your job something new? Why I’ve never heard of it?”
Well, unless you’re in the training and development industry, you would hardly hear these words uttered. We’re sometimes called training developers, training professionals, and sometimes more specific such as online learning developer.
You’re a better person when you help someone who did not help you and you don’t expect a favor back even when you’re in need of help.
You’re even when someone helped you before and you help them in return when they need you or you chose not to help someone who did not help you.
You’re an awful person when someone helped you before but you chose not to help them even though you can when they need you.
You’re at your worst when you give people the illusion that you’re helping but you’re giving all sort of so-called valid excuses not to help after the person had gone out of their way to help you.