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Like any business, one of the biggest challenges you may face as a freelance trainer is standing out in a competitive marketplace. What is it that sets your brand apart? How do you differentiate your services from your competitors? Why should training clients book you and not someone else?
In this week’s blog, I wanted to take a look at six key questions that you can ask to define your service offering and pinpoint those unique selling points (USPs) that you need to promote in your marketing.
Question 1: Who are you?
This question is about more than just your name. Think about your career to date. What qualifications, knowledge, skills and practical experience do you have?
Also, what are the values that drive you? Do your values mirror the values of your clients? How will your values shape your business?
Question 2: What do you offer?
This question is about helping you to develop a business model with clearly defined training services. The key here is to pinpoint what training topics you plan to cover and what you want the outcomes of the training to be for your clients.
Think about how those topics tie in with who you are. For example, does your training focus on managing cultural change in a business environment? If so, perhaps you have qualifications in the psychology of change or you’ve helped organisations transition through a period of cultural change during a merger, or maybe you believe change can be a breath air for businesses and you feel passionate about promoting this.
Question 3: When do you offer it?
When thinking about when training is offered, you might initially identify how long it will take to deliver. Is it available as a half-day workshop, a day of training, a week, at regular intervals? Or can you offer different packages to give your clients more flexibility?
Also, is it important to deliver training at a specific time, either in the calendar, or as part of a process? Let’s go back to the managing cultural change example above – with a topic like this, is it best for you to provide training before change happens, as it’s happening or after changes have been implemented?
If you can pinpoint the benefits of when specific training is offered, you can tell your potential clients all about these benefits so that they receive the right training at the right time.
Question 4: Where do you offer it?
The next step is to decide where you can and will offer to carry out your training services. Do you need to come to a client’s workplace or would you prefer to work at a neutral training venue?
Naturally, where you offer your training will impact on how many people are able to attend a training session.
How important are group numbers? How many attendees can attend a specific course or session?
Question 5: How do you offer it?
As well as identifying what training you plan to offer, and where and when, you will also need to tell clients about how the training will be delivered. For example, do you favour group work, practical hands-on training, using digital technology, team discussions, or a different approach altogether?
What are your reasons for structuring your training the way you do? It might be that you have data that shows that people retain information for longer if they’ve attempted a new practical skill in a training setting.
Question 6: Why does it matter to your clients?
Last, but far from least, it’s important to think about your answers to the above questions with a critical eye. Why does who you are, what you offer, when and where you offer it, and how matter to your clients?
A helpful technique is to write a list of bullet points about the features and benefits of your proposed or existing training services and ask the question “So what?” to each statement.
For example, you might say something along the lines of:
- I have spent ten years working with multi-national businesses to manage culture change after a merger.
The means that I understand the fears your current employees may have, challenges, common areas of resistance, and how to address these issues positively.
- My training is delivered in three stages: stage one comes before the merger, stage two comes three months after a merger, and stage three comes six months post-merger.
Stage one gives employees a chance to air their concerns, identify clear expectations of cultural change, and develop positive techniques to cope with the transition period. Stage two comes soon after the merger when change is beginning to be noticeable and early teething problems may need addressing. Stage three gives the opportunity to reflect on the biggest areas of change, how they have been managed, and long-term approaches to change.
This technique will help you to show your potential clients what your service offering is and how it will make a positive difference to their organisation. It will also show that you understand your clients’ needs and can give them a safe steer with relevant, results-driven training.