One of the High Street banks was once brought up short when promoting their new mortgages.
A marketing executive explained to them that no one wants a mortgage:
they want a house!
Similarly, a frequent mistake many trainers make is to focus on the process of the training rather than the result.
Clearly if you want a house and don't have access to vast amounts of money, you will need a mortgage.
But there is a vast difference between needing and wanting.
So, for example, an IT trainer will run a programme introducing HR to the new company database, explaining how the system works, how to log and how to enter data.
They then wonder why there is a general lack of enthusiasm.
Chances are none of the staff are interested in a new system.
In fact many of them may be quite hostile to the idea, as they have become comfortable with the old system and don't want to change.
So rather than just explaining the process, explain the benefit.
It is a paradox that many salespeople face, that in the short term they are usually asking the customer to give up some of what they are trying to sell them more of.
So for instance, a new product that will save money will still have to be bought, which costs money;
a new time saving device will probably require an investment of time to understand how it works.
Equally true of the trainer: no one wants to learn about a new database, but maybe the students are interested in getting their work done more efficiently; maybe they are interested in less pressure or complaints; maybe they would like to avoid the frustration caused by unnecessary duplication.
The greater the reluctance on the part of the student, the more important it is for the trainer to keep the room focused on a desirable outcome.
And that of course is not the desired outcome for the company,
but a desired outcome for the individual being trained.
The student may be looking at saving time, avoiding frustration or handling difficult phone calls, gaining a step on the ladder to promotion or achieving greater independence.
Therefore if training is seen as a way of achieving any of those things the student will be more likely to engage in the process.
Do you really want to give up a large part of your hard-earned income to pay off a mortgage or to pay rent to a landlord?
Probably not: but you probably like the idea of somewhere nice to live.
That is why it is the trainer's job to help the student focus on the house and not on the mortgage.
This article was written by Michael Ronayne, director at the College of Public Speaking and four-time UK National Public Speaking Champion.
To discover more of Michael's top training techniques, check out his professionally accredited Train the Trainer course here