CXO

How to upsell to your training customers

Long-term, repeat customers aren't born—they're the result of a careful marketing plan. Here's the scoop.


If you can sell one course to a customer for full price, you can probably sell a dozen courses at a discounted price. If you’re not already using this marketing technique, you may be missing out on the repeat-business gravy train.

Pay now, train later
This tip comes directly from the so-called “real world.” One of the managers here at TechRepublic shopped around for an introductory Microsoft Project class for a new employee. He talked to several local training centers, and the one that earned his business used an extremely clever marketing technique to make him a long-term customer: They upsold him.

The training center representative quoted a price for a two-day Project course for one person. The TechRepublic manager said, “That’s great, let’s schedule the training.”

Then the training center representative asked, “Do you think you’ll be sending any other employees for Project training?” When the manager said he might, the marketing person launched into the upsell pitch: “The reason I asked is because if you purchase training vouchers in advance, we can give you a steep discount on all of the classes.”

That deal sounded like a winner to our manager. He purchased a batch of eight two-day training class vouchers at a discounted rate—approximately the same as buying six vouchers at full price. We didn’t send anyone else to training right away, but eventually, we sent several more people to various classes, using up all of the vouchers. We became a long-term customer of that training center.

The point, of course, is that if the training center representative hadn’t mentioned the buy-the-training-in-advance option, we might not have been so quick to send other employees to that center for training. By making the vouchers for “future” training available at a discounted price, the training center put cash in their coffer up-front, and they essentially guaranteed that our employees would be back to their center for training.
Do you have a program aimed at upselling your training clients? If so, we want to hear from you. To comment on this article, please post a comment below or send us a note.

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