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Category Archive: Latest News

  1. How to get your employees seeing through the customers eyes

    Effective selling is often about understanding what it is that the customer really wants. It’s very easy to get lost in promoting your product, focusing on its features and design, or it’s potential to change lifestyles and dramatically shift a market. However, what any potential customer for your brand is really looking for isn’t a product description but a solution. Switching to a true customer-centric view means appreciating that solving problems for customers is the context in which your products can really shine. With this truth at the heart of your marketing you can start to build in more opportunities to get your employees to see through customers’ eyes and understand what it is they really need from your brand.

    Refocus the customer experience

    The crucial shift here is to move from product marketing to looking for ways to help your customers – this is the true customer-centric view. That inevitably means giving customers as much information about your product as possible so that they can see where it will solve their problems and what its features are. Such an open approach is something that many sales teams have tried to avoid in the past, as providing information was seen as a way to allow customers to shop around and then buy from another brand. However, research has found that the more information you provide the more customers are likely to trust your brand and to shop with you. There are many different ways to make this part of the experience, from using social channels to vlogs and blogs that focus on specific pain points.

    Share your intelligence business-wide

    Many different teams can have an impact on sales today. While the sales team might be the direct point of contact with customers, many other departments’ efforts influence eventual outcomes. Data from customer service, legal and accounting teams might be crucial in helping to deliver a more personalised, customer-centric experience that encourages a customer to buy, for example. Plus, sales information could be key for the work of others across the business too. It’s essential to ensure that your business is sharing data and that internal communication barriers and silos are being broken down.

    Achieve balance between sales and marketing

    It’s difficult for your employees to really see through their customers’ eyes if they are focused purely on either sales or marketing. The two should be symbiotic and work together to help achieve your overall business goals. The sales team, for example, has access to customer views, which can be shared with marketing. This insight is essential knowledge for the marketing team to craft messaging that directly addresses customer needs when setting out your brand’s solutions. Both teams will be focused more on how the customer thinks and feels and what they need from the business, which will make both functions more effective as a result.

    It’s not that difficult to get your employees to start seeing your business from a customer perspective – and this is a shift that could be transformative when it comes to driving growth and reaching new audiences.

    Find out more by booking onto our Through The Customers Eyes Training Course…

  2. PTP launches Face-to-Face Live

    Given the unprecedented times we are living in as the COVID-19 pandemic picks up speed, many businesses are being forced to evolve and change. For us at PTP this has meant looking for new ways to allow organisations and individuals to continue essential training, building resilience into a workforce to cope with uncertainty and allowing for ongoing development. That’s why we have launched Face-to-Face Live – a series of training sessions that delegates can join as part of a public group or which can be organised on a one to one basis with a PTP Trainer provided the training live.

    Why are we launching Face-to-Face Live?

    Moving training online in this way takes into account the reality for many businesses that a large percentage of a workforce may now be working from home. In-person training sessions are not currently practical but the technology and infrastructure exists to continue to deliver this online. PTP has created a series of 20+ courses that are now public sessions that anyone can join online, including those focusing on key topics such as Managing Remote Teams and Managing Change. It’s crucial for staff and organisations not to stagnate during this uncertain time and access to relevant training offers an opportunity for progress and ongoing development among staff. It can also help to provide structure where employees are struggling with home working and improve focus and motivation.

    What are the benefits of online training?

    Online training gives businesses and employees options when it comes to individual professional development that can contribute to overall business growth. These are just a few of the advantages of using it.

    • Online training can fit in around existing obligations and responsibilities, whether that is the need for parents to handle childcare or in a situation where an individual is sick. One to one training sessions are especially flexible and can be booked for a time that best suits the individual.
    • Being part of a community. Especially now with citizens being instructed to stay at home the potential negative impact of isolation is very real. Online training provides an opportunity to be part of a community and build networks even in these times of social distancing.
    • It’s incredibly easy for anyone to access online training – delegates just need an internet connection and a computer or device to do so.
    • A wealth of resources. As well as live training sessions, online resources may include one to one support, downloadable notes and materials, assessments and videos. Technology provides many opportunities to reinforce and review time that has been invested in online training to ensure that the learning really sinks in.
    • There is plenty of evidence to suggest that online learning is incredibly effective when it comes to information retention. In fact, it can have more impact as a result of the variety of tools available and the flexibility when it comes to schedules.

    What makes Face-to-Face different  to many other online learning tools, is that our trainers will be delivery the training live specifically to you or your team, that means they can teach at your pace, be available to answer any questions and talk further about anything you need more help understanding.

    PTP Face-to-Face Live is now up and running and you can already book in to the public sessions for April and May. If you’re keen to maintain professional development and motivation no matter what this crisis brings, a resource such as this could be key.

  3. Top 7 tips for writing a successful tender

    Creating a successful tender is not rocket science. However, it does require getting the structure right and ensuring that you include the relevant details. These top tips are designed to help you create an effective tender that will achieve positive results.

    • If there is a template, use it

      . There’s a reason that the template has been provided and, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with this type of document, it can be a great guide to the process of creating one. Bear in mind that templates may place certain word limits on sections and require content in specific formats.

    • If there is no guide to form then opt for clear, logical and well organised.

      You may not have a template or a structure guide to work from for your tender. If that’s the case then it’s even more important to write a document that is concise, clear and which makes sense. Start with an engaging introduction that seeks to identify the reason for the tender, as well as the rationale and central proposition of your bid.

    • Use the selection criteria as a guide.

      When you’re writing a tender pay close attention to the selection criteria – does your bid meet these needs? It’s not enough just to state that it does you’ll also need to provide examples of verifiable experience and outline the credentials that you have that make you the ideal match.

    • Make sure that all the details are there.

      Writing a successful tender can be an involved process and there may be a lot to remember where the details are concerned. Depending on the bid you may need to include information such as the cost, whether that includes taxes, details of any subcontracting that you’re proposing to do, a timeline with milestones identified, any conditions that might affect the costing you’ve done as well as information about intellectual property rights if relevant.

    • Check your tender – and then check it again

      . The document will need to stand up on its own so it’s essential that it contains all the relevant information and comes across as an engaging and impressive piece of writing. Spelling and grammar errors may seem like small issues but they can seriously undermine your case if you don’t remove them from the tender before it’s submitted.

    • Find referees to support you.

      It’s essential to choose appropriate referees and to ensure that they are happy to back up your bid in this way. It might be useful to provide a brief to referees so they know what you’re trying to do.

    • Be timely.

      If you’re late submitting the tender then that can mean a waste of a lot of work. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete the submission – if this is being done online remember that network issues or tech breakdown could be devastating if you’re trying to get the tender in at the 11th hour.

    Writing a successful tender is a simple process that requires an eye for detail, engaging content and ensuring that all the right information is in the correct place. Find out more by booking onto our How To Write Winning Tenders Training Course…

  4. Our top 12 tips for handling difficult conversations

    Conflict in the workplace can be very destructive, leading to sick days or a lack of motivation, even personal attack. As a leader, learning how to handle difficult conversations provides an opportunity to head conflict off early and create a more positive environment at work.

    1. Reflect a little. Prepare yourself to let the other person tell their story before you jump in. And before you open the conversation reflect on your own perception – are there any preconceived ideas or emotions that you’re bringing to the table that aren’t really helpful?
    2. Identify the problem. If there is an issue, before you raise it, get clear on what it is and the impact it’s having. Otherwise confusion could make the situation worse.
    3. Identify the outcome. Before you have a difficult conversation be unambiguous in terms of what you want to achieve with it – that could be getting another person to agree to something, providing support or agreeing a mutual plan of action to overcome obstacles.
    4. Don’t block emotions. It’s far healthier to acknowledge them, whether these are your own or someone else’s.
    5. Remember how important it is to be consistent. If you take a different approach to a difficult conversation with one employee than you did with another then you may find that you start to lose people’s trust. It’s crucial to be consistent in the way you treat everyone if you want to ensure positive outcomes.
    6. Allow for there to be some moments of pause. You don’t need to fill every single silence in a difficult conversation with chat. It might be necessary for both parties to stop and think or to give the other person the opportunity to process what you’re saying.
    7. Be direct. From the start of the conversation be open and concise – begin with something that sets the scene as to why that person is there and what you want to talk about.
    8. Make an ongoing relationship your priority. Although it can take a long time to establish a positive relationship with someone this can be blown away in minutes by a bad conversation. When you’re thinking about the best way to approach a difficult chat make preserving the relationship the focus.
    9. Understand conflict resolution. It’s often useful to do some training on conflict resolution so that you have the language and the tools to manage the process.
    10. Be clear about how you’re going to handle objections and obstacles. Most often these come in the form of stonewalling, sarcasm and accusing. These ploys are inevitable in a difficult conversation and so it’s a good idea to work out in advance how you want to deal with them.
    11. Pick your time and place. A difficult conversation that takes place before a deadline in the middle of a busy office could have a much more negative outcome than one in a less stressed environment and a more relaxed location.
    12. Delve into the science. There are lots of books, lectures and podcasts available on the topic of difficult conversations and the more widely you read around the subject the easier you’ll find it to work with.

    Difficult conversations are inevitable but the way you handle them can make a big difference to outcomes. Find out more by booking onto our Handling Difficult Conversations Confidently Training Course…

  5. How to become a finance expert with no knowledge

    If you want to develop your own financial expertise then having no initial knowledge is actually a great place to start. There are a wealth of resources available today for anyone who is interested in becoming more knowledgeable where finance is concerned, whether you’re looking to acquire expertise relating to complex securities or your own personal finances.

    Books are a great place to begin

    Whether you opt for paperback or the Kindle version, reading can open the door to a huge amount of knowledge when it comes to financial topics. The For Dummies series, for example, is renowned for simplifying complicated topics and making them easier to grasp and there are a number of other specific titles, such as The Richest Man in Babylon, which help to provide the basics. The online world also offers incredible resources where reading is concerned. A simple Google search will usually turn up multiple websites where you can read about everything, from pensions to corporate investment.

    Get some first hand knowledge

    Once you’ve started to gain a basic understanding of the financial matters that most interest you it’s often worth talking to someone who has been working in the industry for some time. You might start with something as simple as an appointment with a financial adviser who can explain how different financial products fit together or by attending lectures or seminars that are given by the experts. The financial services industry also puts on events, whether these are hosted by firms in the sector or by regulatory bodies, and these can be an incredibly useful source of information especially about specific or specialist topics.

    Develop what you’ve learned

    Once you understand the fundamental principles of the financial products or systems you’re interested in it’s time to refine that knowledge. That could mean a visit to the local library to pick out specific titles that will help you to advance further – or booking yourself onto a course that covers a niche you want to know more about. The financial services world is constantly evolving and becoming an expert means committing to ongoing learning.

    If you currently don’t have any financial knowledge but you’re keen to become an expert there are lots of opportunities to make a productive start. Find out more by booking onto our Finance for Non-Finance Managers Training Course…

  6. Top 10 skills needs for advertising

    What do you need to succeed in a career in advertising? This is a role that is essentially focused on communicating a significant element of an overall marketing strategy. To get ahead in advertising you’ll need to nurture a number of key skills.

    1. Being able to work as part of a team. A successful career in advertising means being able to collaborate closely with others, from those at your level to people in management and more junior roles.
    2. Exceptional people skills. As well as others in your industry, if you’re working in advertising you’ll need to be able to communicate with clients too. People skills can be crucial as clients may be demanding or have expectations that need to be managed with insight and empathy.
    3. Effective decision making. If you’re able to weigh up your options, including the costs and benefits of your choices, and feed this into a decision making process then you’re more likely to achieve positive outcomes. It’s essential to be able to be decisive and to understand what your gut is telling you.
    4. Good with money. Advertising campaigns aren’t just about finding the right creative approach and working hard to put it into practice. You also need to be able to make the budget work. Ensuring that you can make the most of the resources available is key for forging a successful career in advertising.
    5. The application of creativity. Well developed creative skills will allow you to find new perspectives to communicate about an existing product or service.
    6. Solutions-orientated. Being a fast and effective problem solver will stand you in good stead in an advertising career. Issues can arise at any time and if you’re able to respond to these swiftly and effectively you’ll find yourself in great demand.
    7. Motivated and organised. It’s essential to be able to manage your own time so that you meet deadlines and deliver everything on time.
    8. Resilience and patience. Especially when you’re starting out in the advertising industry you’re going to make mistakes – this is how everyone learns. It may take time to see a campaign come to fruition or to find the right approach for a particular ad – if you’re patient and want to keep learning then you’ll find it easier to get ahead.
    9. Communication and persuasion. From the clients you work with to the consumers you’re targeting with your ads, being able to communicate and persuade is essential. Are they willing to try your product, provide an opinion or increase the campaign budget? If you have the skills to ensure they say yes then you are likely to go far.
    10. Being able to listen. This is probably one of the most important skills in advertising. Not only will it tell you what your clients are really trying to achieve but it will also shed light on what consumers want – and how you can work with both to achieve your goals.

    These key skills will make it much easier to get ahead in advertising and create your dream career. Find out more by booking onto our Essential Advertising training course…

  7. How to build excellent working relationships

    Strong working relationships not only make it easier to progress in your career but can also enhance the day-to-day experience that you have. People who are able to build strong bonds in their professional life tend to be more engaged and productive, better at working in a team and generally happier in their role. The process of creating these positive interactions begins from the moment you start a new job – if you can put the effort into others around you from Day 1 then you’ll start to create a powerful and effective network for the future.

    Put yourself out and offer to help

    It’s essential to ensure that you don’t end up with too much on your plate, especially when you’re new to a role. However, you can start making a positive impression from the moment you arrive by being proactive when it comes to helping others. Where could your knowledge and experience be useful, can you help ease the burden on some of your colleagues and how can you contribute to group tasks?

    Take part

    From team building activities and events to department meetings, make sure that you show your face at as many as possible. Make positive contributions to meetings and be prepared to proactively listen and respond to others too. You’ll be able to make connections outside of your immediate team like this and also begin to build a profile as a valuable participant.

    Build positive relationships at all levels

    There is often a temptation to focus purely on those senior to you when you’re establishing connections. However, you’re unlikely to make a good impression if you’re dismissive of junior colleagues and this could be misguided as they may not be your junior further down the line. Instead, nurture relationships with people of all levels, be helpful and respectful to everyone and aim to make a good impression on all those that you meet.

    Communicate and deliver

    Letting someone down by not meeting a deadline is one of the fastest ways to erode relationships in the workplace. Make sure you do everything you can to deliver work on time and to a high standard. Don’t be that person who constantly misses deadlines and ignores people who try to chase you up. If you’re not going to finish something on time then let people know with plenty of notice. You’re much more likely to preserve relationships if you show you can communicate when something goes wrong – and then focus on fixing it.

    Be wary of office politics and gossip

    These exist in every working environment and you will come into contact with both at some point. It might be tempting to get involved in gossip, as this sometimes feels like a fast way to bond with new colleagues but it may mean being perceived as talking behind others’ backs or joining in jokes at someone else’s expense. When it comes to office politics try to take a step back, especially if you’re new. It’s very easy to ruin relationships by getting involved in the more negative side of office interactions unless you’re careful not to.

    Excellent working relationships can help you to build your dream career – and enjoy the experience of doing it. Find out more by booking onto our Building Excellent Working Relationships training course…

  8. Our top tips for adopting a successful quality control system

    There are many benefits for any business in adopting a quality control system. From improving efficiency and boosting productivity to supporting more positive relationships with customers and increasing customer satisfaction, a lot can be achieved by this simple shift. If you’re about to start the process of adopting a quality control system then these are our tips to ensure that implementation is successful.

    Identify why you need a quality control system

    For most businesses this will be driven by the need for greater efficiency. Organising and keeping track of documents is essential to avoid wasted resources, staff frustrations and errors and mistakes. Adopting a quality control system will support greater efficiency and allow your business to run more smoothly. To ensure that you pick the right option, start by looking at why the quality control system is so necessary for your business. What are your objectives in using it and what functions are you going to need?

    Plan the adoption process at every stage

    The more effort you put into planning the more likely your adoption will be successful. This isn’t just about planning the process of implementation itself but ensuring that the quality control system will work to support your business objectives. What are the goals that you’re hoping to achieve with the quality control system and how are you going to track and measure progress? At this stage it’s also useful to identify the role that each employee will have in the adoption process, as well as the support they might need once the system is up and running in order to use it successfully.

    Promote healthy attitudes to change

    In any business there can be resistance to change, especially when it involves the need to learn something new or acquire an unknown set of skills. Your workforce may not be fully aware of the benefits of a quality control system and, as a result, there may be some negative attitudes to the process of adopting the system It’s essential that you have all your employees on board when it comes to new systems – enthusiasm and engagement will be necessary to ensure that the adoption is successful and the new system performs positively for the business. If the values at the heart of your business culture are designed to help staff embrace change you will find it much easier to support this kind of evolution.

    Use automation where it works for you

    Although automation is something of a buzzword these days it’s not a cure all for every issue. There are many benefits to opting for a system that integrates automation, in particular the way that this can improve efficiency and reduce the time that staff spend on manual tasks. However, it’s essential to opt for a level of automation that suits your operations and which your team can work with, or it may cause more work than it saves.

    Successfully adopting a quality control system is as much about the planning as it is the system itself. Find out more by booking onto our Introduction to Quality Management training course…

  9. 5 tips to improve your business through risk management

    There are many benefits to fully engaging with a risk management process for your business. From improving decision making through to better preparing your organisation to cope with unexpected change, effective risk management is essential to ongoing growth and development. If you’d like to use better risk management to improve your business there are some very simple ways to do it.

    1. Do the groundwork. Risk management is impossible without first acquiring an in-depth knowledge of your business. What are the different components that make up your organisation, what are its objectives and where is the business going? Consider any possible events and incidents that could influence outcomes going forward so that you have a full picture of where the risks (and opportunities) lie.
    2. Focus on the key vulnerabilities for your business. You can apply risk management analysis to virtually every area of your business – and spend a lot of time and resources on this. However, not all of these metrics matter and your approach will be much more effective if you apply risk management as a priority to those parts of the business where the biggest vulnerabilities exist.
    3. Create the right team. Risk management needs to be handled by a carefully chosen team – it may be necessary to delegate this responsibility to ensure that it is properly and extensively handled. Identify the individuals who will be effective when it comes to using risk management to improve the way your business is functioning. It may also be useful to have a manager who leads the entire process and who is responsible for some of the key functions of risk management, such as identifying the biggest vulnerabilities, creating reports and handling incidents if they arise.
    4. Make sure risk management is integrated into the business culture. To see true improvements from risk management it will need to be something that is inherent in strategy and approach right across the business. This means that those directly handling it have a responsibility to effectively communicate with everyone, from employees to executives. Even those who aren’t directly involved in the risk management process will need to have a sound understanding of why it exists and what measures the business is taking to ensure it is effective.
    5. Consider doing more with business intelligence. The data that is generated by business intelligence software can provide crucial insight, not just when it comes to risk management but across the entire organisation. Business intelligence tools can be used to handle a range of different elements of risk management to improve the way your business functions, for example by setting up a more effective and targeted incident management process. The opportunities that business intelligence analysis opens up include greater understanding of where risk management can be best applied as well as how to anticipate and handle change.

    Risk management is an essential part of a positive business strategy today. These top tips are designed to help any business to use it to make improvements. Find out more by booking onto our Risk Management training course…

  10. How to develop a plan of succession

    Succession planning is essential for any enterprise, whether you’re a family business or a large international organisation. Investing in this process ensures stability in leadership for the business, as well as providing for strategic goals and human resources to be aligned, and improving the business’ ability to respond to change. No matter what the size or sector of the business there are a number of key steps involved.

    Start with the “why”

    When you’re developing a plan of succession the first place to begin is by looking at your reasons for doing so. Is the business moving in a new direction? Are you concerned about key staff being poached by competitors or do you know that departures are coming? Understanding why you need succession planning will enable you to ensure that what you create is intentionally designed for the business’ specific requirements.

    As well as the “who”

    The next step is to identify the people you want to be involved in the process of succession planning. The right people will have a sound understanding of the business, be positive communicators and process-driven.

    Where might planning be thrown off track?

    This stage involves identifying those factors outside of the business that could have an impact on whether your succession planning is successful. For example, evolving workplace trends may mean that you need to add a different set of competencies when planning for recruitment into the most important roles. A changing workplace may require a new approach to developing talent.

    Align succession and strategy

    It’s essential that there is interaction between succession planning and overall strategic business planning. It’s your strategy that will enable you to identify the key roles that succession planning will need to include, for example. It will also be crucial in terms of setting timelines, such as imminent incoming change, or highlighting factors that could have an influence over whether succession planning is going to be truly effective.

    Identify your resources

    In particular it’s important to look at where potential candidates for succession planning are likely to come from. For most businesses candidates for succession will come from two key sources: internal or external. You may already have the next generation of leaders within the business so identifying potential routes to them will be important. Externally, a wealth of sources exist, from employment agencies to universities, jobs fairs and jobs boards. Whichever combination of options you decide to choose as your candidate pool, make sure that you have a clearly defined set of competencies for each key role.

    Put your planning into action

    The process of bringing planning off the page and into the process may involve a number of different steps. Start by identifying the timelines involved and ensuring that the people who are key to the process are aware of their role and tasks. Set goals and then put methods in place for tracking them and ensure that you provide for ongoing evaluation of succession planning so that it’s always focused and relevant.

    Succession planning is a crucial part of the process of growth and survival for any business today. Find out more by booking onto our Succession Planning Masterclass.

In-House Training with PTP

PTP stands for Practical Training for Professionals and our aim is to make our training as practical as possible so delegates can return to the workplace with skills they can implement immediately. PTP now delivers training to over 40% of the FTSE 100.

What you get for your money

What is 1-to-1 training?

1-to-1 training can be based on any of the 100 plus courses that PTP provides, it includes an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site one to one training session at your premises with one of PTP's expert trainers and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

You have the option of a line manager being involved in both telephone conferences, the second telephone conference which can be for feedback and action planning is generally scheduled during the on-site visit.

Who does 1-to-1 training suit?

Individuals taking on a new challenge or responsibilities. Professionals who want a trusted "sounding board" and thinking partner. Executives or managers who want to enhance their leadership effectiveness to achieve organizational and career success. Executives and professionals wanting to compete successfully but still retain balance in their life. Individuals who want to understand their blind spots so that they don't stand in their own way on their path to success. Executives and Professionals who want to improve their interpersonal skills so as to be more effective with bosses, peers, subordinates, or people in general. How much does 1-to-1 training cost?

A 1-to-1 training session costs from as little as £400 + VAT and will include an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site training at your premises and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

What is U-Choose?

Choose from any of the 150 plus courses that PTP provides, and choose from 1 of our 50 plus UK wide training venues. You must book for 2 or more delegates and at least 4 weeks in advance, but that’s it, the course you want where you want it. The reason we ask for a minimum of 4 weeks notice is to enable us to market the course you have scheduled to other companies and organisations. However, if we fail to sell any additional places we guarantee to run the course just for you.

How much does U-Choose Training cost?

U-choose costs the same as our normal open courses i.e. the normal delegate rate. This includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day, framed certification and comprehensive training notes. A U-Choose booking can only be confirmed once we receive payment which can be made via credit/debit card, BACS or cheque. Payment is due at least 4 weeks before the date you request. Please note to be eligible for U-Choose you must book a minimum of 2 delegates on the same course & date.