It's interesting to note that the number of training workshops organised by local distributors of production kit is on the rise.
However, one fears that that they might be disillusioned by the poor turnout at these events and stop investing further in them.
I urge organisers not to do that. This is indeed a fledgling industry, where most deals are based on a handshake, and few people ever read beyond the first line of their email. If your email blast hasn't worked, a different approach might help.
One understands the effort a distributor takes to organise such workshops. He books a conference room in a five-star hotel for a whole day, brings in a trainer from the UK or Europe and pays for his flight and stay, gets someone to get the kit running and then, some end users who confirm their attendance never show up nor call to cancel.
"You'd think if you did these things a bit differently by adding a touch of hospitality to a workshop that is already free, it would appeal to more end users here but that doesn't seem to be the case. It's pretty much hit-and-miss," says one distributor, although he has been one of the more successful organisers of such workshops now.
I still recall his crestfallen face when two years ago, he organised a two-day workshop in a five-star hotel for a product. His team, one end user and two members of the press attended the workshop then. Today, he operates smartly.
He keeps the workshops shorter, books smaller conference rooms, confirms only a small list of end users from among clients or potential buyers and holds workshops for products that are more likely to have a widespread appeal. More importantly, he includes lunch.
Although one does not know if he has a winning formula on his hands, I can assure you that of the five workshops he has held over the last two years, only the first failed. One also knows for certain that his workshops have become an important part of his selling strategy.
His clients perceive him to be more professional as he invests in trainers to teach them how to maximise the use of the products they have purchased plus he ensures that local support is always available. For him, this formula has worked. It might, for you too.
Vijaya Cherian is the editor of Digital Studio.