How do I sell my education service directly to schools?

You’ve got the product and you know it’s something teachers need, so how do you get it into schools? The idea of selling directly to schools can be overwhelming, but it will help you grow your business, so it really is worth doing it.

Things you should avoid when approaching schools to sell your product/service.

We know that education businesses don’t work in the same way as other businesses, meaning a lot of business advice simply does not apply. I have tried some of the ‘business advice’ before and I can tell you from experience that a lot of it does not work.

The first thing to avoid is buying an email list and emailing schools a generic marketing email. I get emails all the time with companies promising me real names and real email addresses. This kind of data can really cost you – you might end up spending thousands of pounds on this information. But save your money! A lot of the time now, due to GDPR, you won’t get these addresses. Instead, you’ll be paying this company to send your email to these people on your behalf. As soon as a school receives it, they know it’s a sales email and it’ll go straight into the trash. Furthermore, there are no guarantees that the information is up to date and some of this could be available for free online anyway.

The second thing I would suggest you avoid is using social media to market to schools. Social media has its place, of course. You can reach teachers there, build your audience and showcase what you are doing in schools. But reaching headteachers is not going to happen on social media because they are simply not there (and if they are, they aren’t there to be sold to).

Things you should do when approaching schools to sell your product/service.

So, I’ve shared a couple of things to avoid but what should you actually do?

Word of mouth is super powerful and headteachers are not immune to FOMO (fear of missing out). If your product/service is having an impact in a school, ask them to recommend you to the other local heads. It might feel uncomfortable to do so, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So ask! Growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone.

Recommendations and testimonials are great but when you first start out, you might have to work with a school for free in order to get them. When you do this, make it clear to the head that a testimonial is what you are after in exchange for your service. Ask them what about the connections they have with the nearby schools – it’s always handy to know how schools interlink with each other.

Another tact is to sell to teachers and, when the time is right, encourage them to approach their heads to purchase a school subscription. This is what happened at Classroom Secrets, but we were not strategic in this at first and it was quite unexpected. There was a lot of mindset work that I needed to do – but that’s a different story. After selling to teachers for so long, by 2018 loads of school subscriptions started coming in because we had built up word of mouth. Teachers new how valuable our product was and upsold it to their heads.

These are just some of the ideas I would suggest for selling directly to schools. The first episode of the Education Business Podcast covers all of these in more detail and many more. You can listen to it here. I’d love to know how you get on!

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