In a previous post I introduced the 3-Step model that you can use to improve training attendance. In this post I’m going to delve into one very specific part of the model that helps us to “create DESIRE”: ‘Selling the end benefit of the course’.
Jon Kennard (Editor of TrainingZone) and I will be co-hosting a free webinar on the 25th June 2015, where we’ll cover these steps in more detail and provide practical ways in which you can implement these in your organization. (Click here to find out more and register to attend).
Why you need to “create DESIRE” for your courses
Employees choose to attend training courses based on the results that expect to get. If they don’t know, understand or believe the results that your training courses will deliver, they are unlikely to register and even less likely to attend.
So, if you are going to improve attendance on your training courses, you’ll need to create desire in your employees. One way to do this is to ‘sell the end benefit’.
Why you need to sell the end benefit
Many L&D departments provide courses such as these:
- Presentation skills
- Leadership development program
- Time management
- Customer relationship development
- Business writing
What have all of these got in common?
They don’t emphasise the result that the learner will be likely to achieve by using what they learn.
As a result, promoting these courses is going to be hard work.
You’ll have to write long emails and confusing posters that explain who the target audience is, and what will be covered. You’ll need to make these engaging and find ways of grabbing attention, sparking interest and building desire based on the details (like case studies you’ll use, activities you’ll complete, or people that will present).
Worse, the employees who read about the course have to infer what they can expect to be achieve, based on what you say they’ll learn if they attend.
There is an easier, and more powerful way.
Sell the end benefit – i.e. what the attendee will achieve, in terms of results (if they put what they’ll learn into practice).
How to sell the end benefit
To sell the end benefit, we first need to define what the ‘end benefit’ is.
Define the ‘end benefit’
First, identify the target audience. This is important because if you define the benefits of a course (e.g. Presentation skills) without thinking about who is expected to attend, you will identify lots of broad benefits such as ‘more confidence’ or ‘better presentations’ rather than tangible, specific benefits.
Specifically, you need to identify:
- Who they are
- What problem they have
Start with ‘who they are’. For our presentation skills course, we might target sales staff (perhaps we did a training needs analysis and identified that presentation skills was a big gap for them).
Next, identify the problem they have that your course could help to solve. For example, sales staff want to hit their sales targets.
Now we know your target audience (sales staff that want to hit their sales targets) we can re-name the presentation skills course to something like “Presentations that sell: Increase the conversion rate of your presentations to hit your sales targets”.
The more they want the end benefit you offer, the more they desire to register, attend and learn from your course.
‘Sell’ the end benefit
Now that you are clear on the end result that your course will aim to provide for your target audience, you can redesign your course, and course promotion materials accordingly.
Redesigning the course?
Don’t worry, although there are a few things that you’ll want to change, a lot of the meaty content will stay the same.
In our presentation skills example, sales staff are still going to need to learn the structure of a good presentation, how their body language affects the impact they have, how to keep the audience engaged, how to prepare etc. (as you would have covered anyway!).
However, the big difference is why employees are learning the content. So you should plan to change:
- Introductions – when you explain why you cover the next topic and why the attendee needs to learn it, link it back to the end benefit
- Examples – use relevant examples to the target audience, and show how using the techniques you are covering helped others achieve the end benefit
- Exercises/activities – make them relevant to the target audience and score success based on things that are linked to the end benefit (e.g. how likely observers of a practice presentation would be to buy the product being presented)
- Conclusions – recap the content in the context of how it will help the audience to achieve the end benefit
Promoting the course
The biggest change will be in how you promote the course.
You can now be more targeted in who you promote the course to, and you will find it easier to describe the course in a way that employees will find more attractive.
The title on its own is likely to grab attention, and generate interest – without you having to explain what the course is about!
You’ll then find that you don’t have to ‘push’ information to people about the course – instead managers and employees will ‘pull’ it – asking you for more information!
A real-life example
You might have spotted that I’m offering a free webinar on “3 Steps to improve training attendance”.
I could have called it:
- Promoting training courses
- Niching your training course
- How to describe your training courses
- How to promote your training courses
- How to sell your training courses
But, none of these focus on the benefit you will get.
Instead, the webinar (and my related products) promise that you will learn what you need to do to improve attendance on training courses at your organization. (Note that depending on the course I could make even more specific claims like ‘double your training attendance’ or ‘fill the room’ etc.)
Conclusion (and challenge for you)
So, in conclusion, make sure you focus on the end benefit your courses deliver to your target audience (based on who they are and what problem they have), and amend your course and promotional materials accordingly.
To help you embed what you’ve learned, I’d like to set you a challenge.
Please now do one (or more) of the following things:
- Share the name of a course you provide that has low attendance (in the comments below) – I (and hopefully others too) will help you to improve it to focus on the end benefit
- Suggest an improved name for one of the example course names I shared at the top of this post (share it as a comment below)
- Let me know your thoughts and feedback on this article or suggest ways of improving the title of my webinar! (again, in the comments below)