Back to Basics

First published November 7, 2008

Post-election and the financial meltdown continues. Discretionary spending is down. The worst October in forty years. Layoffs are increasing. Everyone is holding tight to personal and corporate checkbooks. What should K-12 publishers and service providers do?

The truth is that educators, schools, and districts are still buying – investing in what they think is most necessary to maximize student learning. However, they are giving purchases more scrutiny. So what should we do to make sure that we get our share of what is being spent?There is no better time than the present to return to the basics in your marketing, sales and customer service:

• Distill and sharpen your message. It is benefits not features.
• Expect more resistance. You’ll have to prove yourself and your product.
• Increase your service quotient. Think relationships and implementation.
• Roll out the red carpet. Be invitational and diligent. Make it easy to buy.

Those companies who understand how to create customer relationships that go beyond transactions will still be successful in this market. The essential value proposition has not changed, although there is a higher expectation of value when fewer dollars are on the table. Respect that.

Finally, treat your customers as partners. If you are not sure what they are now looking for, ask them. It’s never been easier to survey them at minimal cost.

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