5 reasons you aren’t selling contract training services
By Layne Harpine, LERN Senior Consultant Layne Harpine will be presenting at the big LERN Annual Conference in Orlando, Nov. 21-23, on Internal Marketing for Contract Training Units.
You can’t get people to buy training and other services if you can’t get them to talk to you. Here are five reasons why your clients may be ‘stuck’ in the pre-buying stages. If even one of these reasons resonates, you could turn a rejection into an opportunity by knowing what the barrier is and by creating an antidote to the block.
1. You don’t see what I need.
Well, it happens. You stop by someone’s business and they say they don’t need training or consulting. It could be true. Or it might be that they need it and can’t afford it, or that management doesn’t support training. In any case, you could still leave an inspirational article, or something else of value. At the very least, you can leave a card and good feelings in your wake.
2. I’m too busy to talk to you.
Who isn’t busy? If you stop by two or three times and someone is too busy to talk to you, it could actually be true. Don’t be discouraged. This is not yet a key client with whom you can spend a lot of time, but don’t write them off right away. Leave a flyer or article and your card. When you’re in the neighborhood, stop by again. Not much invested, so not much is risked.
3. You’re too businesslike and not human enough to pique my interest.
We like to do business with professional, competent people, but we also like to work with people who are warm, fun and above all, who are human–which really means that we relate to them on some level or we think they relate to us. The best way for people to get the sense that you’re warm is for you to take interest in them and to ask polite, but genuine questions. If they raise a subject, follow it a little and ask questions to learn more. One conversation often leads to another, and sociology tells us that proximity leads to relationship.
4. You’re talking to me, but I am not a decision maker.
If the person you’re talking to isn’t the decision maker for buying training services, they may not have much interest in talking to you. On other hand, if they aren’t the person responsible for making those decisions, you don’t want to talk to them for long, either. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get to know them. The more contacts you have inside a company, the better. This includes all rungs on the corporate ladder. A person who has no decision making authority may still know quite a bit about the business, including how to get to the decision makers. Word travels fast inside businesses, and you never know who is networked to whom. The key is to spend an appropriate amount of time with each person and remember that your goal is to get to talk to the decision makers, eventually.
5. You haven’t told me anything I don’t already know.
It’s hard to want to talk to people who don’t have anything of particular value to say. Before you go into a business, learn as much as you can about who they are and what they do, and engage people in useful and meaningful conversation. If you know something useful, even something indirectly related to their work or community, they’ll be more interested in talking to you.