After a short break for LangLion updates, we are coming back to you with our cycle titled „A language school in the times of pandemic” and consequently we are completing the third „Manager’s Guide” mini-series. We have already written how to prepare sales procedures, developed potential scenarios and roles of your employees, and their proper preparation for contacts with customers. So now the time has come for the role of relations and communication in the sales process!
Here we mean both relations with customers and between employees. The latter ones are frequently ignored in effective sales strategies, which is a mistake! Both external and internal communications affect how company image is created. They influence each other, and the final shape of external communication has its sources at the level of relations within the organization.
Studies carried out by the Harvard Business School indicate that former or present employees are the source of over 70% of all communication crises. Neglects in communication with employees contribute to the emergence of so-called informal sources of communication, which in turn has a great impact upon opinions about the school. How can this be prevented?
1. Use tools that support communication
This can prove to be extremely important particularly now as most of you work remotely. Slack is one of the most popular communication platforms and we at LangLion use it too. Owing to it you can communicate on an ongoing basis your needs and problems requiring resolution. Trello or Asana programs are another type of the solution as they enable the creation of to-do lists. They enable tracking of work progress, the number of tasks to do, and their priority.
2. Ask open-ended questions
This will help you to gain a full picture of what is going on in your school. If you ask your employees e.g. „Do customers know about the promotional price for the new term” and the reply is „yes”, it does not provide you with any valuable pieces of information. By asking open-ended questions like How many customers…/ What group…/ What do they know… you will not only gain a wider picture of what sales and marketing in your school look like, but this is also a good introduction into a discussion on the strategy and assessment of whether the undertaken steps were right ones, or whether perhaps it would be worthwhile to change something. At the same time, this provides ample space for a discussion on employee’s ideas.
3. Avoid one-sided communication
Owners frequently treat their school as their own child and this is not surprising at all. They built it from scratch and have much more extensive knowledge than other employees. But sometimes this turns into „I know better” attitudes and leads to a one-sided boss-subordinates communication where employees only follow orders. Such an approach can greatly limit the team’s creativity, and consequently, also restrict the school’s development. How can this be resolved? Give your team a leeway to submit comments and suggest solutions. You are not going to lose anything because of this and you can only gain a new perspective on the development of your business activities. This is because your employees are the first line contacts with students and potential customers.
4. Build relations
We can identify 4 main stages in building relations with employees:
- teamwork, or distribution of responsibilities,
- feedback and conflict resolution,
- employee evaluations,
- team motivating and coaching.
All those items were quite extensively described in the article consisting of two parts and titled „You know less… the worse it will get– what a good manager should remember”, so it is worthwhile to recall it by clicking HERE.
5. Arguments are the key to success
If you struggle with a problem or if your team fails to follow your orders, perhaps it is worthwhile to reach for arguments. The Xerox experiment by Ellen Langer of 1978, which is still pertinent today, showed the power of one word – „because”. The effect was surprising because even the most abstract or obvious justification improves the likelihood of compliance from 60 to 93%! So this makes for a significant difference. And this does not mean the justification needs to be extensive, as then both you and your employees might have the feeling you have to be defensive about the actions and decisions made. It suffices to add a brief explanation after „because”. Remember that „because I say so” does not count 😉
If you are interested, you can learn more about the experiment e.g. HERE
6. Communication with customers
As concerns building of relations in the sales process, here also many factors come to play: the attitude of the salesperson, approach of the customer, and also communication. A credible salesperson, who does not use commercial tricks but honestly presents the opportunities and benefits, has definitely greater chances to finalize the transaction. A lot is being said about relation-based sales, but in my opinion presently one needs to rely on trust-based sales.
But this is such an extensive topic that it definitely deserves a separate article. If you want to learn how to differentiate between relation-based sales and trust-based sales, how to implement them in your school and why this will make a student choose your school, even if the course prices are higher than with the competition, please let us know in the comments 😉