Have you ever received a call from a sales rep’ trying to give you a minute-worth of spiel only to realise, perhaps by your abrupt interruption, that in fact you are not interested in what they have to say/ sell, whatsoever? Hanging up on them, you can’t help but feel slightly sorry for the sales rep’ with that thankless job, and for having failed to win you over as a customer.
Their lack of success in “winning the deal” boils down to a perceived robotic approach tied to an uncustomised sales script that prohibited them from actually getting to know who you are as an individual; connecting with your needs and preferences.
Prospective parents who call or come for a tour have the same expectations of you as a rep’ of your school: they want to be understood. They want you, as an admissions professional, to appreciate their unique needs and what they want for their child. They don’t want you to regurgitate hundreds of words from a sales script whilst treating them in exactly the same way as the family who came before them.
Instead of attempting to memorise the information you have to give to the parents, spend time finding out about their child: what he or she likes doing in and out of school; what they are looking for in a school for their child. These conversations will provide you with much more depth and naturally guide and inform you of what to say and when to say it. They are far more effective at connecting with your prospective families, and thus building that all-important trust, than going in heavy with a script, no matter how comprehensive and informative that script might be.
Have a Framework – not a sales script:
Whilst a sales script can stifle the fluidity of a conversation, it is, nevertheless, useful to have a framework within which to work, so that essential bits of information about your school that need to be conveyed is not forgotten in the midst of your engaging conversations with the prospective parents. This framework is particularly helpful for new members of staff who have just joined your school.
At an international school that I had the pleasure of working with, we sat down with all the admissions staff and brainstormed what parents want to know about our school. We agreed on broad categories that encapsulated our thoughts and these formed the basis for our Sales Framework. (For that school in particular, our framework included: School History; School facts; Curriculum; Extra-curricular; Teaching quality (and staff)… and so on. Under these broad headings, we had examples to illustrate each point.) With a broad framework to which everyone contributed and had ownership of, admissions staff can use as “ammunition” up their sleeves in conversations with families. These ensure that important information about the school is can be woven into the conversations but they don’t overtake at the expense of developing that connection with your prospective parents.
Have a go at developing your framework and let us know how it goes!