Are We Leading with the Wrong Stuff?

karenWhile visiting Florida this summer, I leafed through the January 2014 issue of Spacecoast Business, which I found in my mailbox addressed to “Resident.”  I enjoyed reading “A Lesson in Sales…From a Mouse that Lives in a Castle” by Scott Brazdo, co-founder of BlackTieDigital.com. Brazdo first recounts his experience at a wellness organization where employees fielded phone calls that began with questions about the cost of membership. When the prospective client heard the fee, the call usually ended abruptly. Brazdo suggests that describing the benefits of membership before discussing cost helps consumers make a more informed decision about value vs. cost, helping to meet their needs while also maximizing growth of the company.SCB-Jan13-Contents-123012

So what does this marketing guru offer us as college teachers? After all, shouldn’t students come to us thirsting, indeed practically begging, for the knowledge and skills that we may deign to impart? Well, not so much. Obviously, the administrative folks at our college want to preserve enrollment—that’s a big part of their jobs, and part of ours as well. And it’s critical to teachers that our students “purchase” a full basket of skills and knowledge from our classes. That’s where Brazdo may offer us some real help.

The most persuasive part of Brazdo’s argument reads:

“Imagine you had no clue what Disney World was. You had no idea what a magical, fairytale experience it creates for children and their families. Suppose I told you that you would spend $5,000 to enjoy a week in the middle of the Florida swamp, in 99-degree weather with 99 percent humidity, to see a five-foot mouse that lives in a castlemickey-mouse

You would tell me I was completely INSANE, because you don’t yet understand the value of Disney World. It is our job as business owners to make sure that we are educating our customers so that we can give them the absolute best service possible and meet and exceed all of their needs.”

As I’m preparing my class syllabi and welcoming my students, I plan to focus on the benefits of what I offer before detailing the costs. Oh, sure, my syllabus has competencies and learning objectives and an outline, but I haven’t really listed the benefits of completing BIO 137:

  • Essential foundation of knowledge for subsequent health-care courses, saving time and effort later on
  • Vocabulary and understanding of the body that will help make you a more informed advocate for your own health and the health of those you love
  • Practice in organizing and mastering a huge body of information in a short time (with lots of helpful tips from me, of course!)
  • A peek into God’s own workshop…or, if you prefer, a chance to see how the “magic trick” of human life is performed, something most people never really appreciate

drAnd that’s just for starters.

Make no mistake, I WILL cover the “cost”….classes to attend, pages to read, assignments to complete, labs to perform, exams to be taken. Still, my students are not apt to buy if I haven’t persuaded them that what I’m selling has real value.

To fully enjoy Scott Brazdo’s brief article, click here.

 

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