Educational sales training isn’t the hardest skill in the world to learn — but nor is it really second nature to most of us. Here are five great education sales training tips you’ll want to keep in your back pocket.
Educational Sales Training Tip #1: Know the terrain. Selling to teachers, school administrators and college professors carries with it an entire methodology of doing business, not to mention an extensive lexicon of terms. Teachers and school officials are also a unique bunch; they’re savvy consumers who think long and hard before making a decision. Making sales calls to a teacher isn’t like making sales calls to just anyone, so be sure to do your homework.
Educational Sales Training Tip #2: Remember that sales and marketing are one. If you advertise online, use tools like Google’s conversion tracking to find out how many of your site’s visitors are buying products or asking for more information. Contact the leads that arrive at your website as soon as possible.
Educational Sales Training Tip #3: Make a bible for each client. Every salesperson knows the importance of knowing as much as he can about his clients. But you should take this a step farther. For each client, create a “bible,” containing vital information such as the client’s background with his or her school; the details of the school itself such as location, news clippings, and buying seasons; products that client has purchased in the past and his or her satisfaction with them; and notes on any prior conversations the two of you may have had. Keep the bible as a tool for quick review before a sales call, or quick reference during one.
Educational Sales Training Tip #4: Communicate. This word has two meanings. You probably know the first one: Keep in regular touch with your clients, even if you’re not currently selling or they’re not currently buying. People are more likely to buy from a familiar face or a trusted voice. But more importantly, communicating means communicating well. That means proofreading your emails. It means knowing things like subject-verb agreement and proper apostrophe use. Many of the people you’ll be selling to are teachers — and they’re not likely to respond to someone who clearly never listened to his own teachers when he was learning grammar.
Educational Sales Training Tip #5: Network. Yes, this means going to professional development conferences, cocktail hours and other places you may not love. But there are other places as well. Social networking portals like Twitter and Facebook aren’t just for teenagers anymore. But there’s more you can do: Talk to strangers, starting with your seatmate on your next business flight. Frequent message-boards on education websites (but don’t be a shill; you run the risk of getting kicked off and tarnishing your online reputation). There are plenty of ways to network that don’t involve forced small talk over drinks.