Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pushy Sales vs Conviction in Education

One thing Southwestern Advantage has learned in our 157 years, and something we teach our student reps, is that no one likes a pushy salesperson. Sales aside, a great way to turn people off in any situation is to make them feel pressured into your own personal agenda instead of focusing on their wants, needs, or feelings. 

That being the case, saying No to purchasing our products is perfectly fine. They're not affiliated with your local school -- they're purely supplemental -- they're not a fit for everyone. In fact, good luck finding a single company that makes a product that's a fit for everyone. 

Are we convicted in our products? 
Can a family move closer towards their educational goals by using our products? 
We believe so.
Do we encourage our student reps to be pleasantly persistent when approaching families and asking to speak with them about education? 
Definitely. Education is life-changing. It should take priority over the TV show that's on, the dinner that's cooking, the trip to the pool, the phone conversation with the neighbor, or the time of day. 

Student Rep product donation to a Puerto Vallarta orphanage
Given that we sell educational products, our company attracts student reps who feel strongly about the importance of better-educating young people. They will always make their most resilient efforts to have that conversation with every family they meet. Our student reps do a great thing, and that is something we will always believe. That being said, it's also ok not to buy from them. 

Over 200,000 families across the US and Canada purchase our educational products each year via a student rep. Many more families decide instead to pass. Both are normal. The goals remain the same for our reps: Improve the day of as many people as possible by promoting education to the parents and kids they meet, give as many families as possible the opportunity to invest in education, and leave everyone in a good mood whether they say Yes or No.

Selling to families in their homes is a time-honored way of doing business. However, the role of a student rep is much different than that of the now-stereotypical pushy door-to-door shyster who makes everyone's skin crawl. Our reps have zero quotas to meet. They run their own business; they are their own boss. Instead of standing behind the counter at an air conditioned store waiting for someone to walk in the door, these university students choose to hustle (many 80+ hours a week) to bring their business to you. If our reps seem "pushy" it's probably because you just don't talk to business owners regularly. A good business owner is genuinely convicted in the product/service they offer and want you to be involved. Ours happen to be convicted about making a difference through education, and they want you to be involved. Conviction isn't pushy. Conviction is in search of the like-minded and open-minded people where a positive impact can be made.

These young entrepreneurs are easy to spot -- blue or green Southwestern Advantage bookbag, Southwestern Advantage ID badge, Southwestern Advantage sample books, Southwestern Advantage stamped all over everything; but they're moving quickly trying to find and visit every family in your community.

It's ok to buy, and it's ok to pass. Either way, we hope you give them a few minutes for a conversation -- because education is that important, and they're doing a great thing.