Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What I Learned About UPSERVING at the College Open House with Our Daughter


Today, my wife and I attended a college open house with your 17-year-old daughter. As a sales professional, I think I was more impressed with the experience than Olivia was. Yes, she walked away excited and convinced this was the right school for her, but I walked away equally impressed with such a great sales presentation by all the professional staff. They did not sell to us, they served us.

I guess I should say that I didn't really learn anything new, it all just reaffirmed what I already knew was right about a good presentation. First, the pre-planning information we received in advance was well thought out and easy to follow. Next, our arrival at the campus was made easy with good signage and easy-to-understand instructions. The signs were well displayed at the welcome event, complete with food, gadget giveaways, and lots of smiling, friendly staff members, all ready to help us find our way. Each person was professionally dressed with an easy-to-read name badge identifying who they were.

As we made the rounds to each of the majors our teenager selected, each presentation was complete with all the means for reaching the typical adult learner; a colorful video presentation with sound, a fun, enjoyable, and sometimes humorous lecture or introduction, guest speaker students and staff ready to offer testimony, visual displays with proof of the kind of work our teen might embark on, and hands on assignments for the parents to participate in.

New York Times business bestselling author Daniel H. Pink
wrote in his book, TO SELL IS HUMAN (Riverhead, 2012), that trying to UPSELL a customer is wrong. Instead, good sales organizations learn to instead, UPSERVE the customer; doing more for the other person than he or she expected or that you initially intended. He says it's "...taking the extra steps that transform a mundane interaction into a memorable experience." That's what this university did for us today... created a memorable experience. Are you UPSERVING your customers, or just UPSELLING them?



Bill Corbett is the founder and organizer of the HARTFORD SPRINGFIELD SPEAKER'S NETWORK and an award winning professional speaker who has been speaking since 1995. He has been on stages across the U.S. for everything from brief lectures to keynote speeches to multi-day training events, and was the featured speaker at a conference in The Netherlands this Fall. He is a regular contributor to network television affiliates and provides one-on-one speaker coaching for business professionals. Learn more about him and his top-selling Amazon books.

10 comments:

  1. Great post Bill. I will be in your shoes in another three years. I too look at the world through a "Sales Lense" and I appreciate a solid, well planned sales presentation. Too many people simply try to wing it, without a real objective.
    Inform & deliver value first and the sales almost always come second.

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  2. Your'e right Mike. One of my pet peeves is the statement from educators who say that they don't need presentation or sales skills. I say phooey! Anyone needs good sales and presentation skills. I once tried to start a Toastmasters Club on a college campus and was told that educators already have years of training experience which is just as good as sales and presentation skills. They are misguided!

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    1. What a fantastic idea! College Campus Toastmasters!

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    2. I stared a couple of college campus Toastmasters chapters, and what I learned (the hard way) is that the chapter must be made up of at least 50% non campus people, and no more than $25 students. Students come and go and do not do well as reliable chapter members.

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  3. We visited a number of schools with our two daughters and had our share of both good and bad campus experiences - getting lost and yelled at by campus security when we couldn't find designated parking spaces, lack of signage, lack of engagement with staff. The best school we found that really knew how to UPSERVE was a business school - not a surprise. From the first tour to, working with the business office to move in day where professors were on hand to lug in the stuff and meet the parents, they understood the relationship they were building.

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    1. Thanks for reading Liz! You're right, we had so many poor experiences that I just had to write about this one good experience we finally had. Too many business, whether they are college, stores, or dry cleaners, miss so many great opportunities for good marketing.

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  4. Interesting to read. Amazing that any business establishment--including a school--would imagine that it is "above" selling itself. Sounds as though you visited a school that understood upserving. You must feel positive about trusting your child to their care...do let us know the final choice, won't you?

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  5. Isn't it usually the business that always presents itself professionally and gives the extra effort that wins the business. It's too bad so many people in business don't get this. I am sure this school just raised the bar for any others your family may visit.

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    1. You're right Alan. I've met so many people who are trapped by their own dysfunctional thinking that they can't see the power in professional and top-notch marketing. And how simple many of it can be.

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