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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Your Sales Letter to your Internal Clients

writing a sales letter you never deliver can sharpen your thinking

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

One of the advantages that external consultants have over internal training departments is that they have to tell their stories to their clients again and again. They have to explain what they offer, how it benefits the client, why the client should trust them to make a real contribution to the client's business. They have to be able to make a match between the client's goals and the consultant's services, and do it concisely and persuasively.

Now, of course, consultants do not always think of this as an advantage. They think that internal training departments have it easy, because they do not have to sell themselves again and again. But this regular self-examination and explanation strengthens the consulting business, and it can strengthen your training function, within your own organization, as well.

Imagine that instead of having a history within your company, your training department materialized out of thin air for the first time today. (Or, for that matter, imagine that your company has no training department, and you are coming in as a consultant.) How would you describe your services? How would you position them within the priorities and concerns of your client departments?

I suggest you write a sales letter -- two sides of a sheet of paper, no longer -- to each of the company functions or departments for whom you currently provide training. I won't give you tips about what to put in that letter -- you can find plenty of ideas about that at my marketing blog at www.BestConsultingPractices.com. I want to focus on why you should write such a letter.

First, you need to challenge the assumptions your internal clients have fallen into. Especially if you regularly provide specific training activities for them, they have probably fallen into a rut. They perceive you as the people who deliver a certain class, not as a broad training resource.

You want to make sure your internal clients understand the range of help you can provide. You want to identify "triggers" -- needs, concerns, planning actions, goals --that should get them to pick up the phone and ask for your advice. There may be many, many opportunities for you to contribute to their success that they do not see, because you have allowed them to fall into that rut, to contract their understanding of what you can do based on what you always have done for them.

Second, you will want to develop your ability to quickly make clients aware of how you have helped other functions, and how you can help their department. This is the only way you will be able to contribute to company functions that you are not already working with.

But it can also be valuable in overcoming limited assumptions among your current internal clients. And beyond that, it can actually help your staff develop a consistent vision of what you are there for, your role in the company, how you want to work with other functions, how training is done in your organization.

Doing the hard thinking to examine what you do, what you should do, what your internal clients are missing about what you can do, and then compressing all of that into a couple of pages will reveal a lot about your own assumptions, your own ruts that you have fallen into. This exercise will illuminate opportunities to enhance the service you provide to your colleagues throughout the company.

So write that letter, customizing it to each of your major internal clients. Then write versions for internal clients that you could serve, but that you are not working with right now.

Mind, you don't have to deliver the letter.

Just deliver the message, to your internal clients and to your own staff.

© 2012 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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