Education

Buttoning up the training sale

Don't get all the way to the 1-yard line and fumble the training football. Use these tips to make sure your students take away a positive memory of their instructor.

If you’ve ever done any direct sales, you’ve probably heard the expression “button up the sale.” Here’s how it works: After you’ve convinced your customer to buy and you’ve put the signed check and purchase order in your briefcase, you finish up by giving your customer a free gift.

You say, “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, here’s a little something to show my appreciation for your business.” It’s an old trick that’s supposed to help prevent buyer’s remorse and canceled orders.

You don’t necessarily need to give your students gifts on the last day of class. However, you can use a variation of this trick to encourage students to keep coming back and to refer their friends to you for training.

Save time to button up
Whether you’re teaching a one-day session or a class that lasts over a period of several weeks, you must build into the class schedule some time for selling. I know that most of you consider yourselves educators and loathe the thought of “selling” anything. But if you want your training customers to keep coming back and to spread the gospel of your teaching skills, you have to put in some effort. Here are my suggestions:
  • Don’t teach up until the last scheduled minute on the last day of class. No matter how compelling the subject matter is or how much your students like you, they’re going to be itching to get out of there. Don’t introduce new material or start a new exercise during the last ten minutes of class. They won’t remember it.
  • Set aside time for class evaluations. Wrap up your lesson early enough to distribute class evaluations and give your students time to fill them out. If you wait until the last minute, your students will rush through the evaluation and you won’t get the quality feedback you need. If you’re lucky enough to have postage-paid, mail-back evaluation forms, you could probably get away with sending them home with your students—but I like having my students fill out the evaluations while the last class is fresh in their minds.
  • Review, review, review. Part of the process of buttoning up the training sale involves reminding students what they’ve learned. Spend a few minutes saying, “Now I hope you’ll all remember what we learned.” Then reiterate the key points.
  • Say something warm and fuzzy. Don’t forget to say thank you! Tell your students how much you’ve enjoyed working with them, and say something like, “I hope you’ll consider taking one of my classes again.”
  • Ask for referrals. Hand out your business cards and ask your students to pass them out to their friends or co-workers. There’s nothing cheaper or more effective than word-of-mouth advertising.
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