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Professional Training – a Job or Business?

Professional Training is like a business and

The trainers must develop the required ‘Business Acumen’ for their success

1.0 Role of Sales & Marketing:

People say ‘sales’ is the backbone of an organization. The same is true even for the Professional Training. Unless your training programs are sold out, you cannot even get a chance to conduct a training program.

We also need to understand that ‘sales’ is consequent to marketing. Marketing as a process brings in leads and ‘sales’ involves closing the deal. Both go hand in hand. The better the marketing efforts are, the easier to close. Many times our lead generation is so low that we have a dry pipeline most of the time. Marketing plays an essential role in widening the mouth of the sales funnel.

Marketing & selling is an important component of professional training. All professional trainers must understand - What is selling? They must realize that Selling is nothing but serving. Hence, the purpose of a salesperson is to achieve and exceed the sales & collection targets on regular basis. All professional trainers must have target and action plan to achieve them.

2.0 Professional Training as a business:

Along with the developing the people, the trainers are supposed to provide solutions to the organizational problems, which the trainees/participants are supposed to implement in their work areas. Hence, the trainers feel that their role is of more volunteering than business. As a result, many freelance trainers hate to call them a ‘Businessman’. When I conducted a LinkedIn survey, 85% of the respondents were in agreement with the statement.

Why is it so? One of my friends felt that it is so as many trainers are afraid of the word ‘businessman’. Although we, the trainers, love the money that comes with training; yet we dread the process of convincing our prospect that we are the best bet to solve their problem. Hence, it is a mix of both hate and fear.

3.0 Why trainers hate to call them as businessman?

Let's identify some reasons for this strange behavior:

  • Often the trainers fail to clearly demarcate between ‘Training as a profession’ and ‘Training as a business’. Additionally, the trainers are often confused when they do not have products, which can offer to close a sale.

  • Often the trainers do not have any business acumen. Many would-be-trainers feel that as they are great Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), their training programs would be sold at a premium. But in reality it is not so. All subject matters may not have great market demand.

  • Personal branding is also very important. One of my friends, who had superannuated recently from a different function, which has nothing to do with training but post retirement he wanted to become a trainer and asking for an exorbitant professional fee without taking a dip stick of his market value. As the person has no knowledge about the training market, he felt that it was easy to find participants for the program.

  • Often, we come across another interesting thing in training business. We may not have products that we can offer to close a sale. And we keep all our offerings as customizable. So, rarely the customer comes in to buy something he finds interesting. *We do everything*. It sounds good, but may not work out for many.

  • Sometimes, the trainers are not able to pin point the challenge and offer a solution with guaranteed returns. That comes with conviction in their products. Conviction comes with success in the past. Since they do not have a past for most of their products, they are cautious.

  • Negotiation is an art. The trainers often find negotiation hard. Here, they need to understand that their clients will always want a better deal unless the trainers show them value and make the clients feel they will miss out on deal if they do not go for it.

  • The SMEs are poor in building relationships. They are so proud about their knowledge that they mostly try focus on their past connects and not on their relations.

4.0 Professional Training – a job or business?

Most of the free-lance trainers do not consider themselves as professionals in true sense. They mostly think they are just paid trainers or a hired employee of a training proving company. They are paid for what they deliver, which is nothing but a 9 to 5 contract job but with variable and non-consistent wages and they are satisfied with it. There are some hygiene factors to become a professional trainer. We must understand them. It is always prudent to align our training skills with the strategy. Any organization consists of various departments like Operation, Marketing, Finance, HR etc. Like any organization, to become a professional trainer, you need to develop and establish these departments within yourself.

Imparting training is a skill. But if other management functions are not taken care, trainer can never be professional. Take any example – Shiv Khera, Sonu Sharma, Sandeep Maheshwari, Vivek Bindra, Deepak Chopra – all have strong team behind them, which works as an organization.

5.0 Conclusion:

At the end, I would like to conclude by saying that ‘Professional Training’ is like a business and all trainers must develop the required ‘Business Acumen’ for their success.


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