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In our last blog, we looked at how you can compete with the big guys as a freelance trainer; one message was clear – you can use your size to your advantage by personalising your offering.
Personalising your service adds value in a number of ways:
- It gives your clients a single, consistent point of contact.
- It makes it easier to form a working relationship, both for you and for your clients.
- Your clients get your unique knowledge and experience.
- You can show that your services are flexible and can be uniquely tailored to the needs of the individual client.
- You can make quick decisions without having to go through lots of red tape.
- You can provide one-to-one support.
So, how can you personalise your training service?
Communicate personally with your clients
To be a successful trainer, it’s essential to be able to create rapport and engagement with the people you’re training. Although it’s possible to do this virtually, with online training programmes and emails, I’m a big advocate for picking up the phone or arranging face-to-face meetings with clients, so that they get a chance to put a face and voice to my name and build an impression of who I am.
The next time you’re about to fire off an email to a client, ask yourself whether now would be a good time to pick up the phone and say what you have to say that way instead.
Another tip is to use your client’s name when you’re speaking to them, whether it’s in person, over the phone or by email. People like to feel noticed and acknowledged rather than a face in the crowd.
If you use a file sharing resource with your clients, you could also add personalised touches such as the client’s logo to show that the communication is unique to them.
Provide a bespoke solution
As we’ve mentioned above, one of the advantages freelance trainers have over larger training organisations is that they have the potential to respond quickly to customer needs without having to wade through lots of red tape.
One way to personalise your training provision and add value is to let your clients pick and choose what aspects of your training services they need, so they receive a bespoke solution suitable for the needs of their business. You might do this by offering different packages, different levels of support, or by having an initial meeting and creating your training provision from the ground up in consultation with the client. This has the potential to offer far more value – and command a price that reflects the value you provide – than an off-the-shelf solution.
Build a community
Throughout my career, I have been passionate about creating a community for freelance trainers to share their knowledge and experience. Not only does this community – Trainer Talk – offer its members advice, support and mentoring opportunities, but it also means that we can all give our clients the support of this community too in the form of referrals or when sourcing niche training requirements.
Personalise your email communications
If you have a mailing list that you communicate with regularly in the form of a newsletter or email marketing, you can personalise your training services by creating targeted groups within your list that enable you to get specific about who you’re contacting and why. Most email marketing systems now provide the mechanism to address the recipient of your email marketing campaigns by name too.
It’s a good idea to include some information in the footer of your marketing emails and newsletters about how the person signed up to your mailing list in case they’ve forgotten, as well as giving them a clear way to opt out of future communications.
Another way to personalise your emails is to add a small photo of you to your signature. Hubspot recently split tested this and saw their clickthrough rates go from 0.73% to 0.96% with this single change. Split testing also shows that emails that talk from an ‘I’ and ‘we’ perspective attract more engagement than emails written in the third person or from ‘the business’.
One recommendation I heard from a business coach some years ago has always stayed with me, and that is to never underestimate the power of a thoughtful gift. This coach made it a priority to send at least one client a thank you card in the post every week, and would keep newspaper articles, clippings from magazines, or books she’d spotted on her travels to send to clients for whom those items would hold interest. These small but thoughtful gestures have won her a loyal customer base and a thriving business.
Is personalisation a big part of your freelance training business? How do you personalise your training services? I would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.