This is the transcript of episode 13
Click here to visit the full episode page and listen to the interview.
HTP – EPISODE 13
Hi. Welcome to this week’s episode of the Hired Trainer.com podcast.
Today we’re speaking to Jade Luke who is an independent trainer based in London, in the UK.
Jade is primarily a customer service training provider. She has a hospitality background, just like me. What that means is I, and she, both have worked in hotels and companies, in my case, like Disney, Sheraton Hotels and Club Med.
Jade began in the events and hospitality space and now she has a training business together with other family members.
She is – as I said – primarily a customer service training provider, but also provides training in areas like sales. That was the subject of a workshop which she and I co-facilitated in San Francisco earlier this year.
This is Episode 13 of the Hired Trainer.com podcast. Enjoy the show.
Welcome to another episode of the podcast.
This is the show for self-employed training consultants and the goals are very straightforward.
It’s designed to share content with you, interviews with you, in order to help you to get hired, to learn more and to earn more in your training business.
Every week we invite a different guest on the show. I mentioned there is at some point the idea or potential that I will host a solo show where I’m talking to you about my ideas, my knowledge and my thoughts for how you can improve your training business, but the goal is to get other people – other guests, to share their learning and development journey to find what’s working for them.
Maybe they’ve got secrets and tips and some kind of advice which they can share with you, which you can then apply to your training business.
Each week it’s about 30 -35 minutes, sometimes longer. I’m very conscious of your time, so we’ll get down to business in just a moment.
Today’s guest is Jade Luke. She is primarily a customer service trainer, as I mentioned, but she also offers sales training.
Her business is called customercarefirst.co.uk – that’s customercarefirst.co.uk
Her story is quite interesting. She began as a legal clerk in a legal firm and then she became an event’s coordinator and then working in hospitality she became a trainer.
She did a Train the Trainer qualification, a TTT, and I really enjoyed today’s episode because I quite liked her ideas on how she markets her training business, particularly online.
So, with that in mind, I asked her on the show.
Jade, if you’re listening, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your story with us.
Let’s get down to training business.
Good morning, Jade.
Welcome to the program.
Good morning and thank you so much for having me.
I’m delighted that you‘re on the program.
We have worked together of course. It’s worth telling people listening to the program and declaring that upfront.
We last worked together on a project in San Francisco. That was fun.
It was, wasn’t it?
We had a great time and I think the delegates really had a great time too and took a lot from it. So that’s good.
So, for people who don’t yet know you, you’re based in the West Midlands of England.
Where exactly is the West Midlands of England?
Well, I’m closer to London than West Midlands.
I’m based just outside of London in the Watford area, so I tend to have most of my clients in London, but also around the UK as well.
Right. So how is business?
It is good, Mark. Very, very good.
Obviously, as with any business, there are quite periods and busy periods but I’m finding that with the training that I do, which is customer service training, that it does tend to pick up over the summer as that’s when those businesses tend to be a bit quieter, so can afford to have people off their desks for training.
Well, that’s a great point. I never thought of that that way.
Very often in summer months a lot of training companies, in my experience, a lot of clients tend to get quiet.
They seem to have used up their money by that point, but you’re saying that summer actually is a great time to train people because they’re not really necessarily so busy on the customer front.
Absolutely, so that works well, yes.
So how did you personally become involved in training, Jade?
Well, I fell into it a good few years back now.
I was given an opportunity, while I was doing sales, to do some training for one of the other teams.
It was for a hotel that I was working for.
I was asked to train one of the other teams and I just took it with both hands and thought, “Let me give it a go and really enjoy it as much as I can,” and I absolutely did.
The feedback was great, and the results were great, and it just made me think, “You know what? I feel that this is something that I can really get my teeth into and look into more.”
As a result, I kept being given more training to do across the hotel, until eventually a new role was created for me within the HR department because albeit it was a large hotel, they didn’t actually have a proper training function at that time.
I was the forerunner and given the massive responsibility of creating something.
So, I think that was my in to training and made me realise this is absolutely what I want to do.
I’ve not looked back.
What did you do before you came to start in training?
Before I started in training, I was in sales and was selling event space.
Prior to that I did a bit of events as well.
I think my very first experience at work was with regards to customer service, customer care, doing receptionist work and I think that’s where my passion for customer service originally came from – just having so many years of dealing front line with people and making sure that they’re okay, seen to quickly, queries dealt with, complaints handled.
It was a great skill to develop so early in my career, but definitely planted that passion for service.
Obviously that married together with my training experience, and Customer Care First was born.
I can relate to that because I went to hotel management school many, many, many years ago.
I loved it.
I worked for Club Med, Disney in Paris, Disney in Florida, Sheraton Hotels.
It’s something, I think, which is in the blood.
If you love interfacing with customers and just giving people the feeling that they’re welcome to a place and that you take care of them, you’re aware of their needs and that you’re really focused on their experience, I don’t think there’s anything quite like that.
In some ways it’s actually logical to go from that into training, isn’t it?
Yeah, absolutely, I see what you’re saying.
I think you do have to have a passion for people – whether you’re in service or in training.
So I think that being the foundation for both of those things is just a beautiful combination when it comes together.
So if someone offered you your old job back in recruitment or before that, sales, would you take it?
Absolutely not. I’ve gone too far!
No, I think, it’s great when you really find what you believe you’re meant to do with your career and with your life and I truly feel that doing not just customer service training, but training in general – helping people to unleash their potential and to learn and to grow and to do things better or differently – that, for me, is definitely what I am meant to do, I believe.
To go backwards or to do what I did before this, I just couldn’t imagine it.
So it’s more than a profession to you. It’s almost a vocation?
Absolutely, it’s a vocation and it’s a passion.
I say the word ‘passion’ so much when it comes to customer service because it is about having a passion for what you do, to do something above and beyond.
To really, really enjoy what you do is so important and I think that’s the thing that takes you through the quiet periods, the busy periods, really tough projects.
That passion is what keeps you going and I think it’s so important to love what you do and I truly do.
We mentioned the word ‘vocation.’
I saw on your LinkedIn profile that you have a Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.
This is a UK qualification for those listening to the program.
What is that exactly and how has it helped you?
A shorter name for it, and maybe the more well-known name for it, is the CAVA.
I understand it was previously known as the A1.
It’s an assessing qualification which essentially means that you are qualified to take people at work through a vocational qualification.
I suppose the ‘top and bottom’ of it is – whatever you are personally qualified in or personally experienced in – that’s where you then have the credentials to take somebody in a similar field through a particular qualification.
There are customer service qualifications that people tend to deliver quite a lot at work actually.
[In] my previous roles we used to work with a college and deliver vocational qualifications in customer service at different levels.
That was the first thing that alerted me to that marriage of being at work but also learning and development, and developing a qualification in what you’re actually doing so it would be completely relevant and beneficial.
Then I thought in terms of diversifying the business and increasing our offering within customer service, I felt that being able to offer work based qualifications was a really smart step.
I achieved that qualification just towards the end of last year and it’s allowed me to be able to tender for business which is around those sorts of vocational qualifications.
It’s great because the nature of that type of work is very flexible, as it is with training anyway, but you get to define your own hours, choose which companies you do and don’t deliver qualifications for and that sort of thing.
It’s nice because it’s different in training in that it’s more of a long-term relationship with your learners.
You might have qualifications that are anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, up to a year, dependent on what it is and the speed at which the learners are going.
So it’s nice being able to build a long-term relationship with people who are serious about improving their skills and their knowledge.
So let’s at your business next.
You’re the owner / Managing Director of Customer Care First.
The URL, which I’ll stick in the show notes to this podcast episode, is www.customercarefirst.co.uk
That’s the one, yes.
So how long has this business been in operation exactly?
The business has been going since 2015. It was something that I began when I went on maternity leave.
It was something where I had wanted to venture out by myself for a while, and maternity leave seemed like the perfect opportunity…
(I say ‘it seemed like the perfect opportunity,’ a lot of Mums are probably thinking ‘”What?”)
…to give up on all sleep and all rest and to try and make something of the opportunity to be at home.
I started building my website, started putting all my courses together, a brochure together and all the things that I thought that I would need to be able to start communicating and selling my services to potential clients.
I gave myself a deadline of getting my first piece of business by August, which was a month before I was due to go back to work.
I decided that if I got my first piece of business, then that was my sign to not go back to work and really put everything into this.
If I hadn’t have got my first piece of business by that time, I wouldn’t be here today.
So I’m really glad that I had a plan and a goal and it paid off, because it’s so crucial to me being able to determine how much time I spend at home against time at work.
It’s just that flexibility which was really important at the beginning and obviously in terms of income and finance and that sort of thing, but most importantly just being able to build something that I have complete control over in terms of direction and creativity and what I believe is most important to potential clients.
So what are some of the challenges in running your own training business from day to day?
Have we got time, Mark?
Some of the challenges in terms of running are a business are definitely those first beginning stages where you get a few pieces of business and then you wonder, ”Was this definitely the right thing?
Is this tempo going to keep up?”
You do have those sleepless nights where you look at things in your pipeline and you wonder “Is it enough and what might your pipeline look like over the next few months and later on the year?”
There’s a lot of instability which happens at the beginning, which make you feel quite anxious and wonder whether you’ve made the right decision.
I think one of the other challenges, as with any business, you tender for a piece of business and it all seems like it’s about to happen and things can change at the very last minute.
Your contacts can leave – as has happened in my situation – and then that disrupts the relationship.
Budgets change or minds get changed.
So there’s a lot of instability with regards to business that you thought was coming your way that then doesn’t come your way.
It’s just learning that you have to get a little bit more level headed.
I used to extremely excited about everything that used to come in and I got quite a high conversion rate, which probably didn’t help, but you do get those pieces of business that you don’t get and then you have to really work hard not to dwell on those things too long.
Just get up, keep moving.
I think one of the biggest things for me is to always be doing something to grow the business.
Every single day and whether I’m busy, whether I’ve got my son at home, whatever it is, I always do one thing towards the business.
For me personally, I don’t want to ever look back and feel like I didn’t do everything I could to make this work, so I’m always on the go.
Always doing something to build the business.
So give us an example of the kinds of things that would qualify, the kinds of things that would literally count, so that at the end of the day you could say, “Looking back, today I did something to grow the business.”
What kinds of things would those be?
Absolutely. Some of those might be doing a bit of research into companies that potentially are in the news with regards to customer service or low profits which could be tied back to service.
Just for example, there’s quite a few major retailers who have been in the news recently, specifically with regards to their customer service.
I see those as opportunities to look at my LinkedIn network, find out who I know that works there, see if I can get an open door there.
It might be having a look at people who potentially have a need for customer service training.
It might be looking at the website and making sure that it’s still serving my customer’s needs, making sure it’s still easy to navigate.
I think, Mark, I showed you my website when we were in the US and I noticed that something was wrong on it.
Something had come up that should really have been in the ‘back-room’, and I was like “Oh, my God. Everyone’s seeing this.”
It’s not taking your eye of your ball with that and just making sure that things are perfect.
It might be things like looking at my Google adverts, making sure that those are performing, tweaking those where necessary.
It might be phoning up a client who’s been in my pipeline, finding out where they are.
There’s lots of different things that you can do to make sure that you’re progressing and doing your very best.
So let’s come back to the website in a moment and Google Ads that’s something I’d love to talk to you about.
Looking at customer service specifically, it’s quite a bold move to have your URL explicitly state your niche. In other words customercarefirst.co.uk
Do you find that rules other things out?
Are you happy to have explicitly nailed your colours to the mast?
“We’re doing customer care training. This is what we do and don’t come to us for anything else?”
Yes. I didn’t want to take such a risk with starting a business and do anything that I didn’t know how to do.
The extent to which I was willing to do that was with regards to creating a website that I’d never done before and just generally starting a business that I hadn’t done before.
I wanted to have as much credibility as possible with regards to my personal background and experience and passion, which was customer service.
That’s why I took the decision to be extremely niche, make that my URL, make that my USP.
It’s like going back to CAVA, the certificate that I have – just diversifying within that.
So as well as customer service training and vocational qualifications, I also do work with companies to create and implement customer service policies and procedures.
So that’s another area that I work in that again diversifies what I offer, but within customer service.
I think as I have grown in the business, I have had clients ask me about doing recruitment skills training, sales training and I’m happy to do all of those and have done all of those, but I think I wouldn’t want to say ‘yes’ to anything where I don’t have the credibility for.
In the beginning I thought, “Just say yes to everything and you’ll work it out.”
I still do adopt that mantra and I think it was Richard Branson who said something along those lines as well about saying ‘yes’ and working it out later.
However, I find that to be really effective – and I don’t know if you agree with me here, Mark – but to be really effective in a training session you have to be able to talk from personal experience.
Learners, delegates are really interested as to how you’ve done something and if we’re coming in here saying “you need to do this differently,” or “this is how you can take this to the next level,” we’ve got to have that credibility and that background to say why and this is the benefit of it.
Hence, I like to stick to what I know, stick to what I’ve done before in some sort of way and that just happens to majorly be customer service.
So without giving any client specific details away, let’s take a typical training project with one of your clients.
Give us an idea of what’s that like from beginning the end; the kinds of things you’d cover, the kinds of questions you’re asked and so on.
From an initial enquiry I always make the effort (because I do sales training as well) to pick up the phone, introduce myself.
I really like to lift things from email because it can be a little bit impersonal and people don’t always give you the information that you really need to properly tailor your solution.
So, on the phone, finding out what the needs are, what the sales process is going to be, etc, and what tends to happen is there tends to be one or two conversations over a couple of weeks before my prospective client will make a decision to give their business to me.
At which point we tend to either organise a face to face meeting where I go in, find out a little bit more about the team I’ll be working with, find out more about the business.
Or it might be that I just have a very in depth conversation with the team manager or team leader to just find out what’s really going on with the team because that’s so crucial to be able to deliver the right solution – whether it’s ready made but slightly tailored or whether it’s completely bespoke.
I have to ask really great questions around the objectives for the training, what’s going well at the moment, what needs to improved, what are the likely challenges that I might get from delegates within the session. Those sorts of things.
Then, as the person delivering the training session, I like to be that person’s main contact up until the day, so nothing gets lost, nothing falls by the wayside.
And then go in, deliver the training and I’m quite happy for the people who have booked the training or the managers to be in the training.
But I’m very much about “If you’re going to be here, you need to take part” because to make people who are trying to learn feel as though they’re being observed, can be quite uncomfortable.
So I do try to involve them as much as possible so that everybody’s on the same page.
I’m very big on action plans, Mark, as I know you are, and learners agreeing and having some accountability for what they’re going to do differently.
For a day’s training – I don’t care if it’s one thing they decide they’re going differently – there needs to be something that made it worth their while and something so that they think, “You know what? Let me just give this a go and do something differently.”
I put a lot of responsibilities after the training on the manager or the team leader to make those action plans come to life, to embed all the conversations, all the discussions, all the group work, because I’m very practical on my training sessions.
There’ll be loads and loads of flip charts everywhere and so I like managers to take those things away and work on ‘what do we do with this stuff? Where do we put it? How do we use it day to day?”
Then stay in contact with the person who booked the training, find out how it’s all going, do some more detailed evaluations as to what’s come out of the training and how it’s helping.
And look at other areas in which the team might need to develop.
I think that’s really important, not just from a business development perspective, but from a ‘what more do the team need to be able to deliver their very best?”
Training tends to be quite specific to a few certain issues, but nine times out of ten within training other things will come out and other areas that actually could be touched up on later on down the line.
So it’s about working with my clients to make sure that they’re aware of those further needs and looking at how we address those needs in the future.
Rather than it being a tick box exercise, “Thanks for coming in, off you go,” I like to work with my clients long-term so that we are delivering according to the team’s changing needs and circumstances.
Which of course gives you, I suppose, a nice entry point again if something has come up in the classroom, and then you can bring this to the notice of the decision maker and say, “By the way, these themes emerged. Perhaps we didn’t cover these in the group session, but it could be a nice thing to tackle at a future session.”
Yeah, it leads to business development.
You mentioned the person who books the training, which leads me to a nice topic which I think a lot of trainers sometimes struggle with, (I know I did), which is how do you decide what to charge clients for your various programs?
Sure. That’s a really great question because I did struggle with this in the beginning.
My initial plan was that I would charge clients what I was charging when I was looking after training in my previous role before I went on maternity leave.
In my mind I knew that clients were biting at that and they were happy with that, so I thought, “Well, that’s as good a price as any to begin to charge,” and it worked.
However, I then thought, “Let me do a bit of market research and find out who my competitors are and what they’re charging.”
I realised that in some areas – for example, for my full day courses, that price was quite competitive, but what I noticed was that for half day courses, a lot of companies still charge a full day rate for those because actually it’s very hard then to book the trainer to do something else.
So really you have got them for the full day, whether you’re using them or not.
That was a price I needed to look and then with the bespoke training prices, that’s very difficult to even now still pin down unless you really have somebody who’s willing to be very honest.
I think what I’ve had to do is using that market research and the specifics that I’ve got out of that, use that, but then the non-specifics I’ve had to feel it out a little bit, if I’m honest.
I’ve had to look at how quickly a client is saying “yes” or “no” to this because if it’s a very easy “yes,” potentially it’s too cheap.
If it’s constantly “no,” it’s potentially too expensive, but it’s also about are they understanding the value of what it means to actually design a training program from scratch based on very specific needs and objectives.
So it’s a question of making sure that your clients really are aware of what they’re paying for.
Going back to picking up the phone and really having that personal connection, people will pay you more if they feel that you are going to deliver.
Sometimes it’s not about the specifics of pricing.
It’s about what you are actually offering?
Is it value for money and are you making the client feel as though this is really, really going to turn things around?
Great answer, and I think, as you were speaking there, a couple of things popped into mind.
One of the things I’m going to do on a future episode of the podcast is to maybe talk to someone about the ways that you can actually plan a customer-journey.
In other words, it isn’t just about training.
There are possible offerings before training – f you will – ‘pre-training’.
There are different options to perhaps bill a customer for things like 360 evaluations or coming in and doing an assessment before the training’s delivered and designed.
There’s the design itself.
There’s the delivery of the training, which we’ve just talked about.
And then, of course, there’s the follow up.
It’s funny how early in my career that eluded me. I’d have never thought of actually designing something to follow up.
It seems so obvious now, but the training companies that I worked with as an associate, some of them at least are very good at this.
They’re thinking not just “Okay, what can we do today, but how can we actually build this relationship so that the person needs us and we need them?”
So a kind of an interdependency evolves from this and on that basis what would make sense?
It could be, for example, some coaching.
It could be a 30-60-90 day touch point series so that people feel they’re not just being patted on the back or let go, but they have you.
If they need to, they can drop you a line, drop you an email.
They can expect to see you again.
And the other advantage of course of that, is that as a delegate you feel you’re being held accountable.
Take the learning. As you said, declare an action point!
Do it publicly, make a commitment and now let’s see what you do with this, and I’ll be back, by the way, to make sure that this is actually being actioned.
I think from a sales point of view, laying all of that out as part of your proposal from the beginning is really, really important.
What I’ve found is that if you suggest things later on, clients can start to switch off a bit because they think, “Well, this is another thing that I now have to think about or worry about.”
So I do agree with you, Mark. Having that structure and that plan, but making sure that it’s sold at the beginning, is really important.
Then from a trainer perspective you can follow that and know when you need to be contacting your client and what you need to be doing next.
But also from a client’s perspective, they know what to expect as well.
I think the more you do in the beginning rather than adding things along the way, the better.
And from a cost perspective as well. If I send a proposal to a client and suggest the different areas that we need to cover to achieve objectives, certain elements clients don’t expect to pay for.
Just as an example, if I was to put a fee for evaluation, that’s something that’s would be a sticking point because in their minds that’s just standard, like why would you not evaluate after the training and make sure that this has hit the mark?
Although it costs you time as a trainer to do those things, you have to think about how you build it into your whole package and how you price it, rather then doing a breakdown for everything because that’s where you can get into a bit of pricing wars where clients feel that’s your standard. You shouldn’t be charging for that.
If it still costs you time, it might be that you have to build it into the training element cost or the shadowing day cost.
So, you have to be a bit careful about how and where you price things, I would say.
Yeah, I think you should still put that on the proposal even though there’s no price to it.
What I’ve tended to do in the past is – whether I’m charging in dollars our euros or pounds, or something else – I will literally put down ‘training evaluation – zero zero,’ so that they see it.
It’s there and they’re aware of it.
It’s not just an assumption.
It’s not being charged but I want people to know it’s actually been part of the service and that there is a cost to me at least, and that’s why what I’m giving them is actually representative of good value.
Let’s move on to marketing.
How do you market yourself?
The reason I’m really interested in this is very simple.
When you and I spoke last in San Francisco, you showed me your website and I was really fascinated with your approach to things like Google Ads and landing pages.
Some trainers might find this sometimes a bit technical, a bit daunting. “Oh, my goodness, I’ve enough to contend with by running my own training business. I want to hand across tech stuff to someone else.”
I’m just curious – can you explain, in your experience, how you’ve found success with Google Ads and landing pages?
Absolutely, and I have to say, it’s not something that I had a plan to do.
When I first started the business, my plan was just “I’m going to have to cold call and send emails and hopefully that works.”
I had no idea about the concept of online advertising and specifically Google Ads until I spoke to a family member who runs a successful business.
They said “You’re going to have to do Google Ads.”
I looked into it and the associated costs and I thought “Can I really do this?”
I reasoned that even if I just got one booking confirmed by that avenue, that’s a return on investment instantly in terms of what I’d spent.
It is quite daunting. I wouldn’t say I’m a very technical person at all, but I like to save money.
So when I built my website, which I used Wix for, that was a cost saving exercise but also I wanted to have control because things are constantly changing and I like to be able to quickly log on, make a tweak here and there and not have to wait on somebody elsewhere having to do those things.
I think going back to Google Ads and making that really tie in with my website, things such as landing pages, being able to create those quickly and easily and then tie that with my Google Ads, was really useful.
But I would say if I can learn Google Ads, literally anyone can, Mark, because, as I say, I’m not very technical minded at all.
What I would say is that Google Ads do offer a lot of support and help in the beginning.
There’s a lot of templates.
So, for example, Google Ads is very much based on key words.
Key words being what phrases should people type in online to find you and your business?
So, for example, with me it was along the lines of customer service training, telephone skills training, complaints handling training, improve customer service, those sorts of things.
The template that Google Ads provides allows you to add all of those words and it very cleverly then generates a campaign for you, which basically gets you off on the right foot, gets you started.
And then within a couple of weeks you will have a call from somebody who looks after your account, who will really just go into the detail of what are you trying to achieve with your online advertising and this is how we can do that.
So there’s a lot of support there.
And I think it is a good idea to create your campaign rather than get somebody to do it for you because that gives you the insight as to what you do need to change and how it works generally.
I find that I have to check my Google Ads about once a week, I would say.
You pay per click. Every time somebody clicks on your advert you pay per click, which I think is a really brilliant way of knowing what you are going to spend each day on advertising because you can set a budget.
So, for example, you might say you want to have a spend of £20 a day, £30 a day, £100 a day.
And then the amount of clicks you get will fall within that budget and anything outside of that, it’s then capped.
So it’s great in terms of being able to plan how much you want to spend, but it just means that what you don’t want to do is then have some of your key words being flagged for things that don’t quite meet what you are advertising.
What I mean is, for example, ‘customer service training’ as a phrase can be utilised in many different ways by Internet users.
Somebody might type in ‘good ideas for customer service training.’
Now if I haven’t tweaked my campaign in the right way, then my adverts will show for that phrase and I don’t want people to look for that.
I want people to specifically search for me when they’re considering booking customer service training. Does that make sense?
It does, yes.
So I then have to make sure that I’m tweaking my campaign.
I won’t go into too much detail because it doesn’t make sense unless you’re doing it.
You have to tweak so that you’re not getting charged for things that aren’t relevant.
So I would say once a week is great to just make sure that your money is being spent how it should, that you’re underperforming key words or adverts linked to those key words are performing as they should be.
You do have a lot of control over it.
You can pause it when you want.
If you go on holiday and you’ve got nobody picking up your enquiries, you can pause it.
You can adjust your spend at any point.
If you find that your income is low for a particular month, you might want to lower your advertising budget, or indeed increase it.
So there’s a lot of flexibility and I would say that most of my direct business comes from Google Ads.
I cannot praise it enough.
I’m certainly not a promoter of it, but I cannot say enough how useful it is in terms of getting your business out in front of customers who are searching for what you’re selling.
So it’s a high level overview.
You’re using Wix.com which is a hosted do it yourself, build it yourself website platform?
I think I’ve seen adverts on TV. It’s quite a well-known platform.
One of the more common ones.
Alternatively, there are things such as Word Press, which not to get too technical, but from an SEO point of view, I have heard that Word Press is a little bit more advantageous in that sense.
Yeah, that’s what I use.
In terms of ‘can I see a negative impact of not using something like that for my stuff?’ No.
I can talk about Wix very positively in that respect.
Extremely easy to use a template, make it your own.
I would say even the least technically minded person could come up with at least a one-page very basic website within the day and have it up and running.
Wix is great; super easy and it looks professional as well.
There’s lots of different apps in the backroom where you can measure traffic.
You can add forms.
You can use the invoicing platform they have, which I use.
There’s a lot of great things in the backroom as well that really help you to strengthen your business offering.
The term ‘landing page’ if someone’s listening to the conversation and is perhaps not familiar with what that means.
The landing page is literally the page that you want people to land on once they click on your ad, right?
When I first started, I thought that when somebody clicks on your advert on Google Ads, they should go to your home page.
But what you’ve got to remember is as an Internet user, if you’ve typed in a very specific key phrase, you then want to be shown information relating to that specific key phrase.
So if they then end up on your home page and are bombarded with everything about you, and not that specific information they’re looking for, that can make somebody click off instantly, which is obviously a potential lost piece of business.
And you’ve essentially paid for a click that is of no benefit.
I was told about landing pages from one of my friends who is a web designer, where all of your Google Ads should click back to a page that your user lands on that has very specific information with regards to what they have just searched for.
So, for example, if somebody was to type in ‘telephone skills training online’ my advert would come up.
They would click through to that and rather than seeing my home page or anything relating to general customer service training or processes and implementation, all those other services, they would go to a page that specifically relates to telephone skills training courses.
So my blurb, my course outline, everything on that page relates specifically to what my telephone skills course is, why it’s beneficial, why they should book it and how to get in touch.
My advice for anybody considering creating a website and using Google Ads with it would be to have landing pages for any specific service that you offer.
Yes, indeed you could up with 10,15, 20, loads of landing pages, but you don’t necessarily need to show those landing pages in your navigation menu on your website.
It’s more of a backroom thing so that when people are going on your ads, then they land there and if they wanted to look at your website generally, then they could go to your home page and explore from there.
So I would just say it’s a really great way of selling the key benefits of that specific service that you’re hoping to sell.
The other thing about any website is it should be super easy for somebody to be in contact with you.
So, all of my landing pages have a form on there that people can submit their details to enquire as well as my telephone number and email address.
I don’t just point people back to the contact page.
Every single page has a way of contacting us from there.
Yeah, that makes sense.
What you’ve just said actually is gold dust.
Each page almost becomes a separate website in its own right.
I think you’ve got it in one there, Mark.
That’s exactly what a landing page should be.
They shouldn’t really need to look anywhere else unless they’re extremely interested in what you do generally.
The landing page should tell them everything they need to know about what it is they’ve just searched for.
Ideally, they should go from a landing page to your contact form and you should then receive an enquiry.
With Google Ads you can see where people have clicked and with Wix,you can also see the pages, the individual pages that people have visited.
What I find is that when people hit a landing page, they tend to then submit their enquiry without having to visit anywhere else on the website – which is exactly what you want.
Super easy to get in touch!
Absolutely. It really is as simple as that.
I’m just conscious of time here.
Is there anything you’ve tried that hasn’t worked, because I often think that knowing what not to do can save as much time as knowing what to do.
Yes, one of the things that I think doesn’t work is not being flexible.
This might be quite a late lesson as a trainer.
However, it was something that was really important to me.
In my last role before maternity leave, our ethos was ‘these are the training packages that we offer. This is how we do it and you either want it or you don’t.’
When I first started my business I really tried to sell clients on my way of doing things.
It needs to be this length, we need to cover this, shouldn’t really sub that, and it was all very rigid because that’s what I knew best.
I think very quickly I realised that to be successful as a trainer and as a business, you have to be flexible according to what your clients want.
Even if you get a client who says, “I only want an hour’s training,” then as long as you are extremely clear and realistic about what can be achieved within that hour, that’s what matters most.
It’s not for me to go in and say, “Well, you really need four hours,” if the client can only make one hour available.
Again, it goes back to what can you achieve within that hour? Are they clear that what you can achieve in four hours is a lot more than what you could achieve in one?
So, whereas I used to say no to a lot of things because it didn’t fit in with what I like to do, I know say yes to a lot more things because it’s what the client wants and I’ve been really clear and honest about “That’s great and this is what that’s going to look like based on that amount of time or based on that objective.”
Does that make sense?
It does, yes.
So being very clear about what can be achieved given expectations, given parameters.
You’re right. Someone just may have no option but to commission an hour’s training.
I’ve often been surprised how organizations want literally miracles in a short amount of time, but having a conversation with someone who’s an expert in learning and development, you can work with that.
There are models, such as Micro Learning, where you literally cover something in 90 minutes, but as long as the expectations are clear, then people know upfront what they’re getting and what they can achieve as a result of that engagement.
What I’ve learnt is anything you say no to, somebody else is going to say yes to.
So, you have to think about how much do you want that piece of business and can you make it work?
You think that when you say, “No, that’s impossible,” everybody else is going to think it’s impossible too and they don’t.
If it’s not what they want, they will just go and find something else.
So, I think our very best tool as trainers is just to make sure that there’s that flexibility.
Yes, we can deliver what you want, but I think that’s one thing about learning objectives, being very clear on those.
When I first started, again, I was like, “Right, we’ve got loads of learning objectives here. We’re going to cover all of this.”
I’m now realising, “Actually, covering less but in more detail and to a better quality is much more important than covering 10 or 20 things.”
So again, time allotted, time available, that clients give you – it’s making sure that you’re covering those quality key things rather than 10, 15, 20 things.
Tempting, isn’t it, to go on and on?
So, rather than go on and on. Final question from me – and I’ve really enjoyed the conversation today.
Where can our listeners find out more about you and Customer Care First?
I would say that the first port of call is the website that I’ve been banging on about.
Customercarefirst.co.uk and that’s the first port of call in terms of what I do, who I work with, in terms of my clients and a little bit more about me and my background.
My contact details are on there as well, if anybody needs to get in touch for any advice, a referral, an enquiry.
I do work with other trainers as well on joint projects, so always open to those sorts of conversations as well.
I think when you’ve got people with different specialities, it is nice to have those expertise.
That would be the first port of call, and I am also on LinkedIn as well, so people can feel free to connect with there as well under Jade Luke.
Jade Luke. J-A-D-E and then L-U-K-E
That’s the one.
I’ll put all of this, including the links that we’ve brought up in the conversation, in the show notes to this episode.
Jade, thank you so much for your time this morning and thanks for coming on the show.
Thank you so much, Mark.
I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you!