How to show sponsors that training delivers value

Bryce Sanders gives us his view from across the pond of how you show value in financial services training,

In the world of training, the people who need it often are not the people paying for it. When training is sponsored by a third party seeking face time with a professional audience, how does the training provider show value?

Why is someone else paying?

In fields like financial services, product providers often don’t advertise to the general public. Instead, they raise their visibility with agents and advisors hoping the audience will appreciate their value added training and take a look at their products. In most cases the sponsor makes a short presentation preceding the training or has a table with literature at the back of the room. 

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The sponsor hiring the trainer often views success as a bump in sales afterwards. The trainer has little or no control in this area. 

How trainers can show value

Many training organisations view training as a deliverable package similar to a performance. They supply the talent. Motivational speakers fit into this category. Many firms promise follow-up afterwards, however it’s often either on demand or places a burden on the audience’s sales manager who has already moved onto their next project.

Here are eight ways the trainer can ethically promote the sponsor:

  1. Publicity material:  The presentation is often preceded by a written announcement designed to build the audience. It’s usually written by the trainers using terms and language that resonates with the audience profile. Sponsor value: Include a two line boxed section indicating the training is sponsored by (sponsor) through (name and title of sponsor’s local representative.)
  2. Sponsor speaks early:  Put them on the agenda first, when the audience is fresh. They are the warm up act. They usually introduce the sponsor. Sponsor value: They deliver their commercial.
  3. Attendee list:  Often it’s required, especially if continuing education credits are involved. The sponsor gets a copy. Sponsor value: Their team can contact individual attendees, asking if they found the training worthwhile.
  4. Evaluation summaries: The trainer distributes and collects their own evaluation sheets. In addition to ratings, they also include text questions: What did you find most valuable? Least valuable? Sponsor value: An evaluation summary shows audience feedback. The text comments lend the human touch.
  5. Follow-up (1) – Summary emails: Six short, biweekly emails are either sent directly to attendees or the audience’s contact person for further distribution. They review one strategy, five lines max.  People are encouraged to call with questions. Sponsor value: The introductory text reminds the recipient of the sponsor and their local representative. The recipient is reminded ‘who paid’ six times.
  6. Follow-up (2) – Webinars: You provide two calls at 20-30 minutes each. Your contact person who assembled the audience chooses topics from a menu. The trainer uses the firm’s in-house webinar platform. It’s another opportunity to encourage calls with questions. Sponsor value: The sponsor is thanked at the beginning and end of the webinar. They are invited to listen in. They might even have the opportunity to speak.
  7. Follow-up (3) – Support: After the summary emails and webinars, audience members should have questions. Often training is seen as a Trojan horse to sell the trainer’s coaching services. You offer to answer questions from audience members who call or email. You highlight you aren’t selling coaching services because the sponsor paid for follow-up as part of the training. Sponsor value: The sponsor is referenced as paying for your follow-up, which is included in your base price. The trainer reminds the caller “Who paid.” If it’s appropriate, the trainer lets the sponsor know a person called that might be a good fit for their products.
  8. Manager correspondence: You send evaluation summaries to the manager who assembled the audience. Possibly higher ups too. The letter mentions “On this occasion the training was sponsored by (sponsor firm) through (sponsor’s local representative.) Sponsor value: The manager is reminded ‘Who paid’. Higher ups are shown the sponsor is a team player who is supporting their offices in the field.

You’ve heard metrics similar to: ‘People need to hear a message six times before it sinks in’.  You are highlighting the sponsor’s name and support multiple times with the audience and upper management.  Meanwhile, you are remaining independent without being seen as a shameless promoter of their product. (Which is why outside trainers are often preferred over a sponsor’s in-house resources.)


About the author

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. 


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