When I first started out in my own training business, I very much worked from job to job. While working, I’d concentrate so hard on the job itself that the rest of my business got neglected. Then I was back on the treadmill looking for new business. Can you relate to that?
I soon realized that I’d have to change how I did things especially as I’d heard so many times that is at least 7 times harder and expensive to find new clients than it is to get additional business from existing clients.
So what I did was to put more effort into my existing relationships and also contacted my past clients too. This is how I did it:
- While in a training or coaching session, I’d slip in a number of questions to gain information from participants. I’d ask what had been helpful. I’d ask what their problems were. I’d ask them what they’d like more of? I’d ask what areas of their work were problematic. And I’d find out what changes were happening in the organisation. All of this information I would gain as part of the session.At the end of the training, yes, I’d ask people to complete the usual happy sheet and rate the training 1-4 (not 5 because I don’t want anything to be in the middle).
Then I’d make a point of following up with feedback to the person who had booked the training. I’d call and set a ‘1 to 1’ session with them. And I’d begin by asking what positive effect the training had had on their organisation. Then I’d take them through (readily prepared) feedback on what I’d learned from the session ‘that would be helpful for future training’. And I’d make a suggested progression plan with them.
By the end of the meeting we were more often than not working together on a future training plan … and booking that next session.
In addition, if I needed to bring in any associates to do other training alongside what I would be offering, then I’d also offer to do that on their behalf. For instance, if it was technical training that I’d identified as being needed – I’d know someone else who could fill that part.
My feet were firmly under the table as the ‘go to’ trainer.
- Secondly, with past clients, I made a point of contacting them with a short telephone call, email or letter. I’d apologise for not getting in touch for a while. Then I’d explain that as part of my increased customer service I was re-connecting with them and could we meet up to exchange notes on their current training needs.More often than not, this would lead to a phone conversation and a meeting to discuss in more depth. Plus, more bookings and continued work.
So try this out for yourself . It does take a little effort, but it really does work!