Sam Selvaraj is a founder, partner and lead sales trainer of IBN International, a training firm focused in delivering enduring, pragmatic results to businesses across Asia Pacific and The Middle East. He and his team deliver value across boundaries, develop insights through well-researched content, and energize teams via interactive knowledge transfer methods.
As a trainer who is also a Training Provider (TP), I’m often caught in a bind when I see my peers argue on the roles and worth of TPs. Many trainers feel that TPs are unnecessary elements of the system, taking away revenue which is rightly theirs and are there to simply fleece them of their earnings.
Some argue that TPs water down the value of training when they involve themselves in price wars to gain jobs, and seek to pass on that cost cutting to the trainers – who in turn are forced to reduce their investment into their materials that they use to facilitate learning and so on.
After listening to these arguments, I can see from my perspective as someone who both trains and facilitates training for others that there is a lack of understanding on the role of a TP. So for those who still doesn’t have a clue about what professional TPs do….. here is an analogy.
Professional TPs are like hypermarts. We hold numerous products and brands under our umbrella. We source out the best brands (trainer) and products (expertise) to house under our roof.
imagine the product (expertise) as chocolates, and the brand (trainer) as different types of chocolate brands, targeted at different types of customers, e.g. Cadbury, Lindt, and so on.
No one hypermart owns Cadbury (trainer), or chocolates (expertise) in general. However, based on the brand, trust, visibility, service, location, customer segmentation and overheads of the hypermart, you’ll find that Cadbury is priced differently in each hypermart.
Take note that chocolate brands like Cadbury and Lindt (both are still trainers) also pick and choose the hypermart (TPs) brand they wanted to be associated with. There are also chocolates that seeks the hypermart to name, brand and position their product.
Cadbury and Lindt “advises” on the selling price but hypermart decides the final price based on the hypermart not credibility. Cadbury does not question or request for a share of profits from their product unless it’s been discussed earlier.
Because of cost involved in marketing, promo, product positioning, leaflets, flyers, each hypermart will price the product based on their P&L. If they find it’s not worth holding the product because it’s not profitable, they will drop it or they will come to a consensus after discussion with Cadbury.
“Cadbury and Lindt (trainers) can also have their own stores or outlet with their own outlet staffs, etc. (office, sales personnel) but most choose not to and would rather work with hypermart partners to cut off their overheads.”
This way, Cadbury can find itself promoted in 300 stores, whereas Lindt may only be picked up at 30 stores only because they are premium.
Hence the hypermart takes the lead on brand, product positioning, price and profits. While Cadbury knows best about their own brand, hypermarts will know reasonably well about 60 or so chocolate brands because they are briefed on all the brands they carry. (In fact, in some cases, some hypermarket personnel go on to become brand marketing heads.) So hypermarts are “Jacks of all trade but master of none”.
Hope this sheds some light on what professional TPs do. Again I stress on ‘professional’. IBN International works with over 380 speakers worldwide and 40 odd speakers in Malaysia with harmony and understanding at an exceptional level because we understand and respect each other’s business model and role.
I always tell my speakers – ‘we act as a gateway to your future business’. (I have a lot of testimonials to attest to this.) While a TP’s revenue stream ends at an event, a good trainer’s revenue pipeline and future business begins from the same event.
The bottom line is this: Trainers > Professional TPs > Clients are the eco-system. One can’t live without the other for maximum efficiency. Let’s capitalize on each others’ strength and not cannibalize it.