We’ve teamed up one of our customers, Making Business Matter, to bring you a glimpse into the world of a training provider. Read their guest post below!

Persuading you, the reader, to collaborate with us, might just be the toughest influencing skills challenge for me yet. Like taking coals to Newcastle, as my Mum used to say, or selling ice to the Eskimos, as my Dad would say. Let’s see how I do…

Working with each other, we can make more money together, provide our clients with a better experience, and be the one stop shop that our clients are looking for. We can achieve more together than apart because my last 15 years, as a SME owner, in the L&D world has taught me that it is absolutely not what you know, but who you know. And you might be the right who.

We’d just need to speak on the phone, share why we got into training with each other, and then identify one client each for each other. We are an award winning soft skills training provider dedicated to the UK Grocery Industry (supermarkets). Maybe we could work together in 3 possible ways:

  • Helping you to make your training stick even more with our ½ day Learning To Learn training course.
  • Referring each other because we could be in different industries, or offer different types of training, or in different countries.
  • You might offer eLearning, whereas our offer is more face-to-face.

Interested in a bigger business? Please complete this very short form now. We have a reputation for getting back to everyone that does within 24 hours.

So, How Do You Think I Did?

Question Mark

Good? Not bad? 'See me after the lesson'? Whatever your opinion, thank you for reading. It’s always a tough one, influencing, because it’s one of those intangible skills. And particularly as a possible fellow training provider we both need to be able to walk the talk. Add to that influencing with two thirds of the communication removed. There was no non-verbal communication stuff and it was quite a punt.

Let’s look at my 199-word (1-minute because we read at about 200 words per minute) pitch above from several expert’s perspectives.

What Would the Experts Say? - The Trust Equation

David Maister, in his book, The Trusted Advisor, first shared the trust equation in 2000. He spoke of 4 elements in the equation; C+R+I/SO - Credibility, plus Reliability, plus Intimacy, divided by Self Orientation. Using my pitch above, let’s look at each of these elements in turn:

  • Credibility – ‘Award winning’ is mentioned, as is ‘15 years in the L&D world’. And lastly working in the supermarket arena normally commands some respect because it is known to be a tough industry. No mention of me though, which could let this pitch down; Author, award winning blogger, BBC appearances, writer for lifehack.org, etc.
  • Reliability – A real challenge because this element of the equation is normally built over time. This statement might help; ‘We have a reputation for getting back to anyone that does, within 24 hours.’ Maybe I could of added our extensive video testimonials?
  • Intimacy – ‘…share why we got into training’ – This statement demonstrates that I care about why you do what you do and if our reasons align, there will be a connection. Mentioning that I live in Oxford, have a family with two teenagers, and like swimming would have added more intimacy.
  • Self-Orientation – There are no ‘I’s. It is all ‘we’. What we can achieve together. If it was self-orientated I would have written about us, our USP, and what’s in it for us.

What Would the Experts Say? - The Power of Because

The ‘Power of Because’ was a famous piece of research that established that using the word 'because' influences people significantly. You may have heard of this study before, but if not can read about it in Psychology Today. In essence, using this word helps to get people to do stuff and it doesn’t really matter your reason why. In the study the person said that they needed to get some photocopying done because they needed to get some photocopying done. Crazy, but it’s true.

I’ve used the word ‘because’ twice in my pitch above:

  • ‘We can achieve more together than apart because my last 15 years, as a SME owner, in the L&D world has taught me that it is absolutely not what you know, but who you know.’
  • ‘Referring each other because we could be in different industries, or offer different types of training, or in different countries.’

I have included a genuine reason in both cases, though, according to the research, I could have just written, ‘We can achieve more together than apart because we can achieve more together’.

What Would the Experts Say? - The Change Formula

The Change Formula was created by David Gleicher while he was working at Arthur D. Little in the early 1960’s and later refined. It has 4 parts; Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Step > Resistance. Gleicher wanted to create a formula to understand how change could be overcome. The formula helps us understand that if we want change then we need the amount of Dissatisfaction multiplied by how compelling the Vision, multiplied by how easy the First Step were to take, to be greater than the Resistance to change.

In my pitch the Dissatisfaction is alluded to by the ‘we can make more money together’, because it assumes that most people want more sales, more profit, more clients, and a better chance of achieving their targets.

The Vision part is addressed by the words ‘…provide our clients with a better experience, and/or be the one stop shop that our clients are looking for.’ Plus, the 3 bullet points start to paint a picture of what working together could look like.

The First Step part drives two parts; ‘We’d just need to speak on the phone, share why we got into training, and then identify one client each that we could help for each other.’ This first piece is trying to show 3 simple steps that could form the first stages of working together, and then the call to action is the second part - ‘…completing this very short form…’ – Only taking 1 minute to complete and then the responsibility is with us to follow-up.

How would you improve this pitch to influence this group better? Let us know in the comments!

Darren A. Smith, Founder of MBM, wrote this article for Administrate’s blog - The Advantage. He spent 12 years as a Buyer for one of the big four UK supermarkets. MBM enable suppliers to the big four supermarkets to secure more profitable wins. They are from the UK Grocery Industry delivering People Development. Using their unique training method - ‘Sticky Learning ®’  - you too can have the best people getting the most important things done. Check out their Time Management Skills Training.