How to Pitch Online Learning in a Sales Meeting
Are you trying to sell your learning course—or increase the budget for the courses you’re developing? Here’s how to make a better pitch.
Our LMS plugin is popular among WordPress users who want to launch an e-learning course as part of their own business model. But we also have many users who work with larger companies to develop training for their specific needs. To do that successfully, they need to be able to demonstrate their own capabilities as e-learning providers so that they can land a sale and secure enough budget to move forward.
Delivering an effective sales pitch, especially for e-learning, can be a tall order. But by focusing on the learning objectives of your client, speaking to the learning needs of their audience, and demonstrating your own knowledge and expertise in the field, you can turn this into a successful career path. Here’s how to start.
1. Do your research.
Most people know to check out a company’s website before they head into a meeting with them. But as an educator, you should go a lot further. Read up on their industry, learn about their market and the business challenges they’re facing, and get an idea for how they operate. This can help you pitch an online training course that they can see fitting within their business model.
For instance, if you’re working with a non-profit who needs a volunteer training program, you’d want to know how long a volunteer group typically stays connected to the company or what kind of regulatory requirements they may have to meet. If you are pitching to a corporation, you might want to learn about the career paths in their industry, and what employee retainment numbers look like.
2. Identify a need and offer a solution.
Part of what will get you into a pitch meeting in the first place is being about to accurately identify the needs of your target client. If you can position yourself as someone who understands their business well enough to be familiar with the struggles they’re facing, you will more easily win their confidence.
However, defining the problem isn’t enough—you also have to offer a solution. And if your solutions solves multiple problems, all the better!
For instance, if the organization you’re working with has a problem of talented employees leaving every few years, you might show how your leadership program can help the company retain talent while also improving their internal management. If a non-profit is struggling to recruit qualified volunteers, you can show how your training program can help those volunteers gain marketable skills, while also demonstrating ROI to donors.
3. Educate your audience.
If you want your client to value your expertise, you need to show them that you know what you’re talking about. I don’t mean expertise in a subject matter, but in the field of instructional design. After all, you may be collaborating with subject matter experts to meet the organizations specific needs, but your instructional design knowledge is what will lead the way.
This means you should discuss how you plan to deliver your course, and why your format matters. If you’re planning to include interactive elements or more advanced training tools, like branching scenarios or augmented reality, this is where you need to make the case for them. Your client is unlikely to be convinced by flashy, but expensive, learning tools. They want to know your method will work.
4. Demonstrate your success.
Speaking of which: every time you successfully complete a training program, you should develop your work into a case study to deliver to future clients. This is usually most successful soon after a project is completed, when you can talk with your client about how you want to write about them, and what numbers they will let you publish.
Being able to show a prospective client that you created a similar course for another organization that hit certain key performance indicators is a powerful testament to your skill. If you can’t publish that, you can still usually create materials that describe past work leaving certain names anonymous, or using relative instead of absolute growth.
5. Lead the discussion.
Once you’ve wrapped your presentation, you should have an opportunity to discuss it with your client. It can be easy in this moment to lose momentum, especially if you just ask for thoughts or feedback. While you may have been speaking for a while and are eager to hear what your clients have to say, your clients may themselves feel overwhelmed. Their instinct may be to say “we need to think on this,” which can leave you without a good follow-up.
Instead, be ready to ask questions of your own that will help your clients formulate thoughts about their needs, hesitations, and aspirations. Be direct in asking these questions so that you can effectively address their concerns, and be ready to collaborate with them if they have ideas they’re interested in seeing included in your learning plan.
6. Close with confidence.
Closing effectively is all about reading the room. Some people will say you should always finish by asking a client to sign. While this is certainly a bold move, it can also be off-putting, and may lead to awkwardness if the client still has to get budget sign-off from one of their superiors. People don’t like saying “no,” especially when they’re not in a position to say “yes.”
You should keep this option in your back pocket for times when the decision maker is in the room, you’ve built a good rapport, and you’re confident that a “yes” is imminent. Otherwise, finish your meeting as if you fully expect to move forward. Discuss next steps, schedule a follow-up meeting, or if you can’t, ask for a specific time frame for your next communication.
Don’t leave the responsibility of following up with them, because it isn’t likely to be as high of a priority.
LearnDash is equipped with the instructional design tools you need to deliver industry-leading results.
If you want to demonstrate your skill as an instructor, the last thing you want is an e-learning platform that limits your ability to deliver top-notch courses. This is a common problem educators have when they first begin researching the market for Learning Management Systems (LMSs). Hosted options like Teachable or Thinkific offer easy onboarding, but their capabilities are limited, and if you have an unusual use case in mind, they may not be sufficient for your needs.
As part of the WordPress ecosystem, LearnDash plays well with other WordPress plugins, offering a lot of flexibility to online educators. In the hands of a professional developer, its capabilities are practically limitless. If you’re working on courses to pitch to