School systems can be a difficult market to crack. However, you’ll reap the benefits if you win the orders for their promotional product needs. Based on 2020 data from the US Census Bureau, elementary through secondary schools spent an average of around $14,378 per student in 2020. While much of this went to teacher and administrator salaries, schools leave room in the budget for promotional product purchases.
Choose Your Target Wisely
When choosing a school for your sales pitch, consider the size and type of the school before making contact. K-12, charter schools, and community colleges provide enormous potential. They tend to be heavily focused on products for boosting school spirit and fundraising. Building relationships with these schools can facilitate long-term repeat business. If possible, try to create relationships that allow you to sell on a district level to expand the volume of incoming orders.
Get in Touch
Before you contact the school, do your research. Ensure you make contact with the appropriate person. Presenting the items to the purchasing decision-maker is your best option. In this situation, you only need to convince one person that the items you’re offering are what they need. However, in many cases, you will pitch to someone who does not have the purchasing authority. So, be sure to present the products in a way that appeals to administrators, teachers, and students. Get them excited about the products, so they will express that enthusiasm to the final decision-maker.
Timing is Key
When selling to schools, timing is everything. Schools start to finalize their budget for the upcoming school year in the Spring. They are usually especially busy during this time and will only be interested in discussing the essential items. This might be a good time to offer Parking Permits for the upcoming school year or ask if they need Fundraising Cards. In the summer months, administrators are more likely to have time to talk and consider the less essential items, such as Bumper Stickers for faculty and students or custom Canopy Tents for events.
The Sales Pitch
An excellent starting point includes a phone call to the right person. Spend your time listening and understanding the school’s pain points and needs. This will facilitate the beginnings of a sound partnership. Avoid long-winded spiels about what you think schools need. Instead, ask them how you can help. After building a strong foundation, schedule a face-to-face meeting. Educate the customer on how your products fulfill their needs and get them involved. Bring samples with you, so they can get a feel for the items you are offering. Remember to take several samples to the appointment so your contact can pass them around to other administrators.
Once you’ve landed the sale, don’t be a stranger. Keep in touch with your contact. Check in to discover if they like the products you sold and if they solved the need. Ask if they have any questions. Let them know you are available if they need anything else. If executed properly, this sale should be the start of a long-term partnership that will generate sales for years to come.
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