We Are All “Selling” Something
Home 9 Message from the Mentor 9 We Are All “Selling” Something

Sales is a fundamental aspect of virtually all professions, regardless of whether a job title explicitly includes “sales” in it.

Consider this:

  • Doctors and Nurses – “Sell” treatment plans to patients
  • Educators and Admissions Professionals – “Sell” their university and the values of their education to parents and students
  • Lawyers – “Sell” their legal expertise to clients
  • Agents and Managers – “Sell” the talent they represent to producers, publishers, and studios
  • Nonprofits – “Sell” their mission and cause to donors, volunteers, and the public
  • Government Officials – “Sell” their policies and initiatives to the public and legislators
  • Human Resources Professionals – “Sell” their company culture and benefits to new hires

 

One of the (many) things I absolutely love about Carew’s sales training programs is that we don’t just train sales professionals and sales skills. As our CEO Jeff Seeley likes to say, “We train people skills” – listening, effective communication, negotiation skills, rapport and relationship building, presenting, conflict resolution, and the list goes on. These are all things that people across all professions use every single day.

Carew recently launched a new “sales” training program – Dimensions of Professional Admissions (DPA). Our DPA program empowers admissions professionals with the confidence and competence to recruit prospective students and successfully guide them through the enrollment process. DPA is near and dear to my heart because it is where I started my “sales” career.

 

My Journey with Dimensions of Professional Admissions

I was just out of college and saw an ad in the paper for an Admissions Advisor at a local college. I thought, “I love helping people,” so I applied and was selected for an interview. During the first 30 minutes, the Director of Admissions said, “This is not the traditional Admissions position. This is a sales job, and Reps are held to enrollment goals.” Sales? In higher education? It sounded a little dirty to me, quite honestly. But I still really liked the idea of helping people, so I was willing to give it a shot. Plus, I believed in higher education and could sell something I believed in, right?

Fast forward one year, and I was enrolling more people in a small town in Maine than Reps in Texas, Florida, and California. What was I doing to enroll so many people? What was my sales tactic? I listened to people tell their story and I offered them solutions. I showed care, empathy, and a potential path that could help get them where they wanted to be in life. I attended several sales trainings where I understood how sales could have a negative connotation. But I kept “doing me” and remained to be pretty successful.

When I got objections such as “It’s not the right time,” “I don’t want to take out loans,” or “I don’t know if I can be successful,” I handled them as best I could. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. When students came in wanting to learn more about my school, I told them everything we offered. Sometimes, it was meaningful and other times, it wasn’t. But simply by being a nice enough person, I was still pretty successful, so I was happy.

Then, one day, I was introduced to Carew International’s Dimensions of Professional Admissions (DPA), a sales training customized for higher education. I attended the course, somewhat reluctantly, if I’m being honest, and in the first few hours, I looked at my colleague with the biggest smile on my face and she looked right back at me and said, “Game changer right here.” And boy, was she right!

After two and a half days, I walked away from that training with skills that I will use every single day for the rest of my life, not just when it comes to selling.

Carew’s DPA program taught me that being effective in sales is much more than being a nice person. That helps, no doubt…but there is a strategy and a discipline to selling. It starts with building a relationship. That came easily to me, but for those in my training that it didn’t come easy for, they left with a process that helps connect them to their student or customer at a personal level before we start trying to sell them anything.

Where I was throwing everything and the kitchen sink at my students, going into detail about all of our school’s resources and capabilities…I realized that you can be so much more effective if you ask good exploratory questions that help you understand what exactly is important to THAT person. Going on and on about Career Services and how they can help place you into a job after graduation doesn’t make a lot of sense to the person who already has a job and is simply looking to advance in their position, for instance. Once you know what’s important to your student/customer, we focus our presentation on those things! Again, it was a game-changer.

Years later, I had a team of Admissions Advisors who all went through Carew’s DPA training. When a student said, “I don’t know if it’s the right time.” I no longer had Reps saying, “Well, call me when it is!” Instead, I had Reps using LAER and understanding where the student was coming from before offering solutions that might not have solved the real issue. I no longer had Reps unsure of the process and “winging it.” I had Reps very clearly and professionally conducting Exploratory conversations to find the student’s Gaps or desired outcomes and then present solutions showing the student how our school could help close those Gaps. Mission accomplished!

After 14 years working in higher education, I was given the opportunity to join Carew International a few years ago as a Sales/Client Partner. I feel incredibly blessed to be once again selling something I believe in. Since joining the Carew team, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to work with former colleagues and friends who are now at different schools and looking to bring DPA to their organizations.

It’s funny how I still hear, “People don’t like to say it’s sales training because it’s higher education.” But it’s time to let go of that. Give your students a better experience by investing in your Advisors and giving them the tools they need to succeed and, in turn, investing in your business.

 

5 Things to Do to Boost Enrollment Performance

1. Treat your students like VIP customers

  • Create an Interdependent Relationship

2. Remove filters

  • I know what they mean when they say…
  • Overcome misperceptions on their part
  • Use LAER: The Bonding Process

3. Stop conducting “interviews”

  • Have conversations and understand the student’s “why” and identify their Gaps

4. Focus on what’s important to THEM

  • FAB – Features, Advantages, Benefits

5. Invest in your Advisors and your team

  • Provide them with training to give them skills. You can’t say “do this” (build better relationships) without showing them how to do so.

 

10 Gaps Carew’s DPA Training Closes for Colleges & Universities

  1. Increased Morale
  2. Decreased Turnover
  3. Increased Enrollments
  4. Improved Student Experience
  5. Decreased Drop Rates
  6. Increased Graduation Rates
  7. Improved Culture
  8. Increased Revenue
  9. Increased Confidence
  10. Decreased Performance Discrepancies

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