Finding new instructors for a contract training program is a never-ending task but it is a task that is necessary in order to keep growing as a unit.
Your sales people work hard every day to develop strong, trusting relationships with employers. Relationships where your clients trust you to find consultants and instructors/trainers that will guard their confidentiality and help propel their business to the next level. The last thing a contract training department wants to do is place an instructor or consultant into a company and “cross your fingers” and “hope” all goes well.
Contract Training departments tend to find a core group of instructors that they have used for years, trust completely and can provide reliable deliverables for your client. But oftentimes, CT units can become too comfortable on the same trainers and not look at the succession planning of their own instructor base. What happens if one of your most used instructors decides they want to retire, move across the country, or becomes ill?
If you haven’t been planning on deepening your instructor bench strength, you may find yourself having to say no to client requests and watching potential revenue disappear to your competition.
So how do you strengthen your CT instructor bench strength without throwing a first-time instructor into a client and hoping for the best? There are several methods that we have used at Kirkwood Community College’s Contract Training Unit that allows us and our clients an opportunity to hear potential new instructors before committing to larger contracts inside a company.
One newer method we have tried has been with our Instructor Showcase event.
Our Instructor Showcase brings in four to six instructors that we haven’t used before, or have only used in a limited capacity and allows them to show their skills in a 20-minute speed showcase.
We invite our clients to attend the entire event and watch all the different instructors and at the end of the event our clients have an opportunity to mingle and get to know the instructors.
Our instructors all do this at no charge, as they are essentially selling what they can offer to a room full of potential opportunities.
We held our first Instructor showcase just a couple of months ago and we were thrilled with the outcome.
Some of the things we learned and the benefit we found:
We were able to identify instructors that we would likely not use. This was a huge opportunity for us to see these instructors in action with very low level risk with our clients. In fact, since our clients knew they were here viewing new instructors, they were willing to give some advice to these instructors through an evaluation they filled out later. We didn’t burn any bridges with a client for sending them a less than stellar instructor and our instructor gained some constructive feedback that they can use for the future.
We were able to win over a new client that had previously committed to a competitor. This client had already committed to a competitor for diversity training, but after attending the instructor showcase, they heard our diversity trainer and she had ‘wow’d’ them so much, the client changed their mind and hired our trainer instead.
We were able to identify instructors that we wanted to use for other projects. Not all of our instructors who presented were able to land a contract from the audience that day. However, we now have a better idea on the styles of each of our presenters, we know who came prepared and who showed up two minutes before his/her start time. All of these factors help us decide who we can trust to put in front of a paying client.
Building the bench strength of your instructors is a continuous project but a necessary one if you want to continue to grow your CT unit and we have found that the Instructor Showcase event is a low cost, very effective way for a CT unit to evaluate future folks to put on your bench as well as providing value for your clients.
Amy Lasack is a featured presenter at the 2018 Contract Training Conference, March 13-16 in Chicago. Click here to learn more.