From education to employment

It’s holiday offer time – or is it?

Margaret Adams MA FCIPD, Consultant

There’s been a lot of news coverage about Mega Monday, Manic Monday or Cyber Monday this week. In case you missed it, the Monday in question was the last Monday in November and it was a big shopping day. It was forecast that £537 million would be spent on-line in the UK on that date with £22.7 million being spent by the hour.

Were any of these shoppers spending any money with you whether on line or off line?

Were you ready and waiting for the shoppers who were committed to spending on Mega Monday and who were looking for something to spend their money on?

It’s time to spend

In the old days, when most organisations had training budgets, providers simply tried to get managers to spend their funds with them. Today, lots of organisations don’t have training budgets, but they do have funds that they can choose to spend on products and services during the year.

The fact that there isn’t a training budget doesn’t mean that employers won’t buy training. If something that you are selling takes their fancy, or if they notice your offer at a time when they’re thinking of spending, then you’re more likely to make a sale.

That’s why Mega Monday and similar occasions matter to you. That’s why you need to be aware of the events during the course of the year that encourage people to buy.

Did you seize the opportunity?

Did you prepare well for the pre-Christmas buying period? Did you get in touch with employers with new offers during November? Have you repackaged what you do to fit the time of year?

For example, if your programmes attract VAT, have you encouraged employers to buy before the VAT rise that comes into force in January 2011? If you’re starting a new programme in the Spring Term, have you given employers a chance to make their bookings early to receive a bonus, or a special thank you of some sort, for making their purchase sooner rather than later? Did you do any bundling of popular and less popular programmes to help make more sales? Did you offer Christmas taster sessions?

If you haven’t been in touch with your employers, and if you don’t have a seasonal offer, then the chances are that they won’t be thinking about you and what you could sell them when they make those pre-Christmas purchases.

What’s more, if you haven’t been in touch, someone else could have your employers’ attention right now. Someone else could be making sales and building a relationship with your employer customers, especially at this time of the year.

Be there when employers are buying

The best time to be trying to sell something is when people – including employers – are expecting to buy. That’s why the period leading up to Christmas is a time when lots of organisations promote special offers.

Even if you’ve missed the opportunities at the end of November, there are plenty of chances during the year to make a time-limited offer around an event in the calendar or to fit in with a special occasion. Create offers linked to these events and you are more likely to get the attention of your employer customers.

Getting employers’ attention is what this is all about. Once you have people’s attention you can engage directly with them and then make them an offer.
Therefore, start to think about the right times to get in touch, the right offers to make and the type of response you hope to generate. You might find you’ll have your own Mega Monday sometime next year, if you do.

Margaret Adams is a consultant who helps provider organisations to do more business with more employers. She writes on employer engagement at: Attract More Business and at Achieving the TQS

Read other FE News articles by Margaret Adams:
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