Hello Class, it’s great to be back to share another lesson with you! Today we will be focusing on how to gain support and obtain approval for training activities that will help you and/or your teams improve results, and return on investment (ROI) for your tradeshow programs. As a general rule, there is no such thing as too much knowledge or too much training. There are plenty of options to choose from. One option is a custom program, delivered by a consultant such as myself. This type of program is designed specifically to address and improve a company’s specific sales and marketing goals via tradeshows. Another option is attending tradeshow industry events such as the EXHIBITOR Show and TS2. These shows offer a variety of general educational sessions focused on helping exhibitors improve tradeshow results.
However, obtaining approval for training is often overlooked or dismissed in many companies due to tight budgets, or simply being focused on current projects without thinking of how tradeshow training can directly impact and improve those efforts. This leaves it up to you to take the initiative of explaining to management the value such a program can deliver to the company’s bottom line. Just like anything else in the business world, there is a ROI to communicate to your decision makers.
Before you do anything else, define what your goals from that training are and how achieving those will help the company, and then research the various options that are available. The more information you can collect the better, but at minimum you need to know what you can expect to learn, and what the total cost will be. Sometimes it can be more cost effective to bring training in-house so a larger group of people can benefit from that training. All this should allow you to pick one or two options you are going to present to management.
The next thing to do is to formulate a plan to communicate the benefits to management. There are a couple of items you should try to cover. For example, you should be able to explain how such training will help you perform your job better and how it fits into your own performance goals. You should also keep both short term and long term strategic goals of your company in mind, and weave those into your explanation as to why you should attend that particular training. Such a big picture explanation is always good since it shows you have the overall company performance in mind.
As part of your cost presentation, show you gave considerations to possible savings, such as using public transportation, discounts you can get, time savings etc.
Search for any statistics you can find showing the value of the type of training program you selected. If you come across data that shows other unselected programs to be less effective include that also.
Lastly, be prepared to explain how you plan on measuring the success of this initiative and how you will report back on what you learned, as well as how you will track the value of your training over time. Usually, it is a good idea to position any knowledge gained as knowledge the company now has, and knowledge that can and will be shared amongst co-workers.
If the training is off-site, and takes you away from your regular job for more than one day, you may also want to come up with a plan as to how your regular job duties will be covered while you are gone.
Armed with all this information you can now write a memo or letter to management which outlines all the data points gathered. Unless there is only single cost items, like a fee for an online training course, make sure to include a complete budget. If you found data that shows ROI statistics, putting that data into a graph is always a good idea. If you have any ROI expectations graphically showing how over time they will affect the company is also a powerful tool. Management is used to looking at numbers, and graphs make it as easy as possible to see and understand the value of what you are proposing.
Okay, that’s it for this lesson. Bye for now!
• Identify at least 3 areas where you could use additional knowledge or training
• Research training options and their costs for the 3 areas you identified. This should include any secondary costs such as travel expenses.
• Research statistics around the benefits of this sort of training (very often the training providers offer links to research and data)
• Identify at least three benefits your company can expect from you receiving this training
• Consider ways to share your new knowledge with your co-workers
• Identify a method to track or validate the benefits to your company
Now write a memo for management using all the information you gathered and the methods learned in this article. If you need help, there is a “Trade Show Training Justification Letter” as a sample posted on my web site at: http://www.tsteacher.com/TradeShowTrainingLetter.html
About Linda Musgrove, the Tradeshow Teacher
Linda Musgrove is president of the Tradeshow Training firm, Tradeshow Teacher. She focuses on teaching companies to significantly improve tradeshow results through strategic, customized tradeshow training for individuals, departments or entire teams. Training options include phone consulting, webinars, seminars and one-on-one in person coaching. Musgrove authored “The Complete Idiots Guide to Tradeshows,” published by Alpha Books/Penguin Publishing. Learn more at www.tsteacher.com and sign up for the free monthly Tradeshow Tactics newsletter. Follow on Twitter at: twitter.com/tsteacher.