Goodbye April, least of all B2E selling months. Hello May/June, feeding frenzy of year end dollars and last chance to make the July 1 budget. If you want your product to be a winner over the next 8 weeks, you must avoid the fatal mistake that will get your proposal routed to the circular file. Today, I have 3 perfect questions you can ask your prospects to help you avoid getting left behind this spring.
The thing you desperately have to avoid is the perception that your tool is an OMT. Avid Selling B2E Readers know that OMT is my shorthand for “one more thing,” as in “My teachers can’t handle one more thing.” In some cases, and with certain funds, OMT’s can get greenlighted, but rarely at yearend when it’s all about starting next school year off right. “Right” has a lot to do with integration these days. Today’s expectation is that the myriad of technology solutions districts consume should all plug into some sort of virtual central fuse box, seamlessly integrating all technology platforms and the existing curriculum mix.
OMT has always been a killer of an objection, but in today’s ed tech market, with 1000’s of small resources and apps to choose from, OMT has moved into first place as the reason why NOT to buy. This will even apply to why not to use a FREE solution. That’s right, districts hate OMT so much, you can’t even give one away these days.
The sales hack to help you make the cut this spring is what I call making an Integration Summary. To create one, you need to call through your existing pipeline to schedule “quick yearend planning calls.”
“Hi Mr. Prospect, it’s Julie again! I know it’s important for you to understand how my solution will integrate with your technology plan and curriculum mix, so every May I send people considering our service an Integration Summary. Can I ask you a couple of questions before I send you yours?”
There are three questions you will ask on this call that will give you the ammo you need to prove your solution is going to plug in beautifully.
- What is changing in your technology plan for next year?
- What is changing in your curriculum mix for next year?
- What will the PD focus be for teachers this summer?
If you have these answers, you’ll be able to send back a thoughtful one page summary. You’ll address in bullet form the ways your product works with their technology, fills gaps in their curriculum, and supports their main PD objectives. Yes, this takes a little work to do, but once you start hearing a few prospects’ answers you’ll start to see how repetitive their responses and hence your summaries will be. You might even see so much consistency that you can put together a standard integration summary and send it to the non-responders to show them in general how your product supports districts looking for a high level of coordination in their ed tech.
If it still sounds like too much work, picture yourself looking at a new tie or scarf at a department store. It’s a one off, just something you see and like for its color or pattern. Now picture the sales person saying, hang on a sec, what color suits do you wear? Then they hand you a sheet of paper showing all the outfits you could wear that tie or scarf with. Will you buy it now? How could you not? That wardrobe plan just made your life a lot easier, and you can demonstrate to your own conscience and any other interested parties what a sound investment this purchase is.
Ironically, most ed tech products are in fact OMT. They are independently developed and distributed by increasing numbers of companies. This is good for education. Diversity has always been great for the gene pool. It’s just a little befuddling for decision-makers. Stand out from the crowd by showing how you fit in!