3 Audiences Consultants Miss by Not Offering Online Coaching & Training
Whatever your opinion of online training and coaching – good, bad or indifferent – there will be always clients and audiences within client organizations who will never attend your face-to-face workshops, due to cost or logistical barriers. The good news is that online learning (done right) can help you reach these audiences and even provide a value add for your existing face-to-face offering.
Here are three major audiences that consultants often miss out on by not having online options, and suggestions for how to reach them, without compromising on quality or profit margins:
Your existing clients’ junior and supporting staff: One negotiation consultant told us his biggest client was only sending the top 40% of their outside sales team to his workshops. When he asked if the rest of the team, as well as their inside sales and procurement departments, might benefit from negotiation training, the client agreed they would, but flat-out said there was no budget to send those people to live workshops.
This situation is a classic use case for online learning. Offering high-quality self-guided content and delivering instructor-led sessions via web conference can eliminate travel costs. Alternately, if day rates for longer workshops are a concern, having participants complete online self-guided pre-work can help you get more out of your time on site and potentially reduce 5-day workshops to 3 days or a 3-day workshop down to 1 or 2, while covering all the same content.
Smaller organizations in your target markets: There are probably a number of organizations who would love to send their people to your workshops and can almost afford your regular rates, but not quite. This can pose a dilemma for consultants: do you drop your price to capture down-market clients, or do you hold the line, and hope to find more clients capable of paying full freight?
In these cases, having an online option can help you capture more business, without undermining your pricing strategy.
Overseas customers: Even if you don’t actively seek international clients, in today’s interconnected world, you never know when someone in another country might discover your website or a random overseas speaking engagement might yield unexpected opportunities.
For instance, one of our US clients had a Chinese training firm license some of their old training videos, which unexpectedly led to Chinese businesses contacting our client, asking for live workshops and coaching sessions. By developing online offerings, our client was able to meet this demand, even though the cost of flights and exchange rates would otherwise have been prohibitive.
What About Cannibalization?
It’s a fair question whether an online offer will undermine your face-to-face training business. However, in five years of helping expert consultants develop online training, we’ve yet to encounter a situation where the firm didn’t come out ahead.
More often, firms were able to leverage online materials as a value add for their face-to-face workshops, for example by having participants complete online pre-work, so workshops can focus on discussion, application and case-based activities instead of rote slideshow presentations.