What Clients Want - It's More (Way More) Than You Think

by Guest Expert

If you're a speaker or trainer, you might have been able to survive so far with offering ready-made presentations to clients and audiences. But today's clients expect more than just a conference presentation or training workshop. Those are effective ways to deliver information and motivation, but to truly make a difference, you need to provide some one-on-one support as well.

Don't just think of speaking and training; think coaching and mentoring as well. Organisations are already using these internally, and they expect external trainers and speakers to offer them as well. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easier for you to add coaching and mentoring to your existing offerings.

I know there are various definitions of the terms speaking, training, coaching, and mentoring, and sometimes the lines between them can get blurred. For our purposes here, let's just think of speaking and training as group activities, and coaching and mentoring focussed on theindividual.

With that in mind, here are four ways to add e-coaching and e-mentoring to your programs.

1. Self-assessment diagnostic before your workshop

Some trainers conduct a pre-event survey to determine their participants' biggest problems, questions and concerns. But this is typically for thetrainer's benefit, so they can tailor their presentation appropriately. This is good, but another option is to send them a self-assessment diagnostic questionnaire (you know, one of those multiple-choice Readers Digest-style quizzes), so the participants can assess their own performance and highlight areas they need to address.

2. E-mail and phone support

People who work with a coach or mentor know that person is only a phone call or e-mail away whenever they need help. Speakers and trainers don't usually give this form of access to participants, but ... why not? It will probably take much less time than you think, because you won't get inundated with calls and e-mails. And if you're really worried about that, create systems to make this easier (e.g. an online form for them to ask questions, or only allow e-mail access so you can respond in your own time).

Although most participants won't use this, the few who do will really appreciate it. For you, it's a great selling point in your marketing, and it gives you the chance to truly understand the problems and challenges faced by your clients and audiences.

3. Follow-up support webinar

More and more trainers are turning to webinars as another way of delivering their training material. That's great - and I highly encourage you to continue doing that. But have you thought about doing a coaching/mentoring webinar as well? All you have to do is offer a "support webinar" some time after your training program, where you simply turn up and answer questions.

To make this more effective, you could ask your participants to send in their questions in advance. You could also start the webinar with a briefsummary of your workshop material. But the main idea is to simply be there as a mentor, answering their questions and assisting them with their challenges and goals.

4. Coaching smartphone app

Few speakers and trainers have their own smartphone apps, but even those that do tend to have a marketing app (such as a cut-down mobile version of their Web site or blog). A better option for your participants is to create an app that they can pull out and use whenever they need help in a tricky situation. It's like having you as their virtual coach.

For example, if you teach sales skills, your app could be a collection of short videos covering the most common situation salespeople encounter - meeting a prospect for the first time, talking to a client who's threatening to switch to a competitor, talking to a client you want to switch from a competitor to you, and so on. This helps a salesperson who finds herself in one of these situations, because she can pull out this app and watch the relevant video for instant coaching advice from you.

These are just a few examples.

Use these four ideas as a starting point. I'm sure you will be able to think of other ways to add coaching and mentoring to your workshops or conference presentations. But please do add them, because clients and audiences want - and expect - them.


Gihan Perera


You may also like:

Filed under Performance Evaluation. Posted by The Corporate Toolbox on