…AKA “Conference takeaways that sound suspiciously akin to relationship advice”
Last week, our EME team jetted off to Atlanta for the incredible 2023 Tech & Learning Ed Exec Conference. Picture this: stunning vineyards and wine tastings at Chateau Élan were just begging for our attention. But fear not, we were committed conference-goers, networking wizards, and captivating speakers. Now, let’s get to the juicy stuff – we’ve distilled the absolute best nuggets of wisdom from the conference into our Top 10 list of things that will blow your mind. And guess what? These tips double as pretty solid relationship advice! 😏
Cultivate Connections – Turns out, school and district leaders are actually human beings too. Shocking, right? To win their hearts, you need to establish a genuine relationship. Be more than just a salesperson – check in on them, ask how they’re doing, and show that you care. Forget about those cringe-worthy mass emails; personalize your outreach or get a warm introduction from someone influential. And remember, persistence is key, but rudeness is a deal-breaker.
Perfect Your Timing – Timing is everything, my friend. Understand the school calendar and plan your outreach accordingly. Don’t even think about scheduling a sales call on the first day (or even week) of school – they’re insanely busy, and you might end up being labeled as an annoyance. Get to know school buying cycles and be present year-round. Finally, stay in the loop about what’s happening in the district; knowledge is power!
Align Your Goals – Don’t be selfish and solely focus on your own goals. Take the time to understand what the schools and districts want to achieve. Rather than barging in with a sales pitch, ask them questions and genuinely listen. Seriously, listen to understand rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. Keep the conversation flowing with more questions.
Leave the Obvious Behind – Trust me, educators don’t need reminding that test scores are low or that students are struggling. They know their community inside out. So, skip the boring charts and graphs. Instead, show them how your product or service can bring about a brighter future. Be forward-thinking and offer solutions that go beyond their current struggles.
Align on Finances – Understand where the funding is and tap into that knowledge. Find out how other schools and districts have financed similar products or services. Arm yourself with insights about local, state, and federal legislation that may impact what you’re selling or the school/district you’re targeting.
Become the Ultimate Strategy Partner – Go above and beyond by providing valuable resources, especially for those experiencing high staff turnover. Position yourself as a knowledge hub, ready to support them in their educational endeavors.
Keep it Real – Now, this one is a no-brainer. Be yourself! Authenticity is key. The same goes for your product – don’t oversell capabilities that you don’t actually have. Just be honest and genuine.
Identify Your Dream Partner – Know exactly who you need to be talking to. Pinpoint the decision-maker and key influencers. Don’t waste your time chatting up the Superintendent if your target audience is at the building level. Likewise, if the Curriculum Director is the one in charge of purchasing, don’t bother the Technology Officer.
Honor the Process – The K-12 buying process is a well-established cycle, and it can be lengthy. Respect it and don’t try to cut corners. If their policy is to obtain Board approval, be prepared for that in your buying process. Play by the rules!
Embrace the Long Haul – Working in education means you’re in it for the long haul. Schools and districts are institutions that endure for ages, and they often move at a snail’s pace. Forget about one-and-done sales. Instead, focus on building meaningful, lasting relationships.
See? This advice isn’t just for the education space; it spills over into the world of relationships too. You’re welcome! 😉 Want more juicy insights from the education world? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!
For every size of company, from start-ups to industry giants, Education Market Experts provide services that help our clients promote and sell products to faculty, administrators and students in K-12 schools, colleges and universities. Sales growth, marketing and business development are our specialty.