I empathize with the sentiment of annoyance that school administrators feel when they're scheduled to hear a sales pitch on an already busy day. However, as educational leaders, I think we're forgetting something important: This sales person that we're scheduled to meet with will likely provide us with an important educational tool that can do wonders for our school district's success.
Sales and marketing people work to bring the latest and greatest educational products and services available to help our students, staff, and community. I suggest we open our door and hear them out.
Here are three reasons why you, as an educational leader, should take advantage of these sales sessions:
- You are going to learn something new. That old adage, you're never too old to learn something new, definitely applies here. While you may have sat through conference presentations and other sales pitches on blended learning technology, each provider and practitioner has unique ways they are implementing blended programs. Take the time to listen to your sales representative and learn the different ways they are implementing blended learning. Technology is changing every day—and so should you to keep up with the best solutions and practices for your students and school district.
- You could find new ways to revolutionize your district's curriculum. With the use of online curriculum and tools in a blended learning model comes a potentially great benefit to your district. Blended learning allows for more time and for different, flexible ways of teaching that can positively impact students' learning and teachers' job satisfaction. Students are able to experience personalized learning through technological tools, keeping them highly engaged with the material. Blended learning technologies can also save the district money, from textbooks to school reporting and educational supply costs. In addition, administrative processes can be streamlined.
- You could strengthen your community. Each year, approximately 485,000 young people leave high school before graduating. While this is personally devastating for these youths, it also creates a strain on the community. Non-graduates are more likely to be unemployed, have poorer health, shorter life expectancies, and higher criminal rates than those who graduate high school. Blended learning technologies hold the promise of re-engaging students, decreasing the negative effects of non-graduates on the community. By listening to blended learning technology sales representatives and considering what the best solutions are for your school district, you are searching for outcomes that help your community at large—a very noble and worthwhile investment of your time.
How to Make Time for Blended Learning Technology Sales Representatives
Interested in opening your door to a sales pitch in blended learning technology? Then you might be wondering, "How do I make time for these sales meetings in my busy day?" It's easy. Tell your administrative assistant which days and time slots you are generally willing to sit and listen to a sales person. If possible, arrange for the appropriate staff to sit in on the meeting. Then, make sure you, or your administrative assistant, tell the salesperson in advance that their time is limited to just 10 to 15 minutes.
Good salespeople will:
- Tell you what you need to know within 10 to 15 minutes
- Teach you about the new product or service
- Give you a good indication about the costs and benefits of their products
- Provide you with the opportunity to say, "No thank you" or "This sounds worth pursuing"
- Be available to speak with all parties involved in the decision-making process
Open your door to salespeople. You could learn a lot!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jerry Brodsky is a retired superintendent of the Aurora City Schools, Aurora, Ohio, and chief executive manager and lead consultant for American Educational Consultants. In his 35 years in public education, he has been a math teacher, guidance counselor, as well as a middle school and high school principal. Jerry's consulting work has included several prominent charter and online cyber schools.