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Training sales staff

August 17, 2006

It's not only teachers that need training.

Hello again,
Selling a service is arguably a more subtle process than selling a consumer product. It is easier to describe the attributes and benefits of, say, a household gadget than a language course. After all, the school cannot guarantee that a learner will achieve the results he or she desires. But you can make more sales if you have properly trained salespeople on your team.

First they need to have excellent ...

...questioning skills so that they can deduce exactly what the potential learner wants and needs. There is a distinction between the want and the need. Let’s say the learner hopes to study in an English-speaking country. Then the learner might express a wish to be fluent in English so as to feel confident about managing in the new country. That’s fine. But the salesperson should be able to explain the benefits of that learner of also specializing in English for academic purposes because s/he will need to perform properly during the course of study. The expert sales person will be able to identify learners’ needs and explain how the school can meet all their requirements.

Secondly the salesperson must be able to adapt the sales pitch to the individual. Simply rattling off a set speech for everyone is not effective. Each learner is unique and the good salesperson must be able to elicit from the student their specific wants and needs and then explain how the school can cater for them.

And the salespeople must be truthful. Of course they want to show the school in the best possible light but if they exaggerate or give a false impression of what is on offer, the student will be disappointed when those expectations are not met. Bear in mind that happy and satisfied clients are your best ambassadors so your salespeople need to understand that it is vital not to mislead or take the view that a course must be sold regardless of whether it meets the learner’s needs.

Let me know what you think.

Bye for now,

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