Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kumon Family Orientations - Authenticity

Wow, wow, and WOW! The below article really gives me some new insight into "selling" Kumon to potential families.

First, a little info from my personal experience... then the article.

Kumon North America rolled out some new Parent Orientation materials last year. The info and materials were great and customizable (thanks, KNA!) I did everything I could to incorporate these amazing materials and script into my family orientations. I completely revamped my "new family" meetings.

What happened? FEWER ENROLLMENTS! I suppose that the "script" and "buzzwords" were just not me. I started "playing a role" rather than conveying my true enthusiasm and belief in the Kumon program. I stopped being as personal and individualized as I had been about "making the shoe fit the foot" of each potential new student. I started sounding "cannned", rather than authentic.

Good gosh! I am so glad I realized this sooner, rather than later. I've gone back to my "old" authentic, enthusiastic, and personal orientations. What I missed hearing from families when I used the "one-size fits all" script was that they "knew/felt my respect and belief in the Kumon program. Now that I have gone back to my "own" version, EVERY parent lets me know that they feel and appreciate my passion for Kumon.

This authenticity makes a difference. My enrollments are increasing :-)

Read on, my friends...

Selling Your Authenticity
~ Roger Dawson April 6, 2010

The truth is incontrovertible, as Winston Churchill would say. You cannot be a top producer unless you genuinely believe in the value of your product or service and can enthusiastically convey that to your buyers.

Let’s be clear about what I mean by enthusiasm. I don’t mean the mass excitement generated at rock concerts and sales rallies. That kind of frantic jump-up-and-down excitement is short-lived. What good does it do to get all pumped up at one of those rallies if the thought of making a cold call gives you a migraine?

No, I’m talking about the genuine enthusiasm that comes from a sincere belief in what you’re selling. To develop enthusiasm, start truly believing in your industry, your company, your product and your ability to serve your customers. If you truly believe in your product, you won’t need superficial excitement to motivate you. You’ll be sitting in front of that phone thinking, I can’t wait to pick up the phone and start telling people how good this is.

Here are some tips on how to grow your enthusiasm:

1. Get feedback from your customers. A lot of salespeople don’t want to hear from people they have sold. No news is good news for that kind of salesperson. Get feedback. The more you hear from your customers that they were delighted with their purchase, the better you will feel about what you do.

2. Improve the quality of your customers’ feedback with this mantra: I’m going to promise my customers less but deliver more. If you are closing sales by exaggerating the worth or value of your product, you are always going to have unhappy customers.

3. Stimulate your sales presentation with enthusiastic third-party stories. If you sell vacations and you can’t get excited about going to Hawaii, you can still enthusiastically say, “Jo and Bill McAuley were so excited about their vacation in Hawaii. They called to tell me that it was the best time they’d had in their lives.”

4. Learn about your competitors and their shortcomings. Some salespeople are reluctant to do this because they have no intention of knocking the competition. That’s fine, but hopefully, the more you know about your competitors’ problems and shortcomings, the more enthusiastic you will become about your own product.

I’ve never met a more enthusiastic salesperson than my good friend Peter Shield. I first met Peter in Brisbane, Australia, when he introduced me to the audience at one of my Power Negotiating seminars. About 15 years later, Peter emigrated from Australia to Las Vegas, where he got involved in the timeshare industry. He has taken to the timeshare industry like a duck to water. He loves it.

For years now I’ve tried to break Peter’s enthusiasm for timeshare. I’ve never been able to do it. Every project he has worked on has been the most incredible bargain in the world. “Come on Peter,” I’ll tease him, “when I want to go on vacation I can pick from thousands of travel bargains on the Web. Why would I need to buy a timeshare?”

“Roger,” he replies, “we’ve been friends for over 15 years now and I’ll tell you the truth from the bottom of my heart. You will never, ever find a better buy than the project that I’m working on now! And apart from that, you get my service. My service comes with every sale I make. And you can’t buy me online.”

What does that teach me about Peter’s approach? It teaches me nothing will ever shake his enthusiasm for his product.

Buyers are not persuaded by logic. They are persuaded by how well you can communicate your belief in your product and service.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kumon Advisory Committee - Tooting My Own Horn!!!

So... I recieved an awesome (and surprising) e-mail from Mr. Jim Coakley (the King of Kumon Branding) last week. In the e-mail, he offered me the opportunity to participate as a member of Kumon North America's Branding Advisory Committee. I am honored and humbled by this amazing opportunity, which I, of course, accepted!

Here is some addition information, as published in the April edition of "The Bridge":

"In the January-February 2010 edition of The Bridge, we announced the establishment of new subject-specific Instructor Advisory Committees in order to give distinct and focused attention to each of the many important components that go into operating Kumon Centers. (...) Selection of committee participants was based on a variety of factors, including recognition of the Instructors’ conviction in the Kumon philosophy and method, proven ability to implement the program and operate their businesses effectively, demonstrated interest and proficiency in the particular focus of the committee, and leadership skills. Committee members serve a one-year term and may be reappointed."

Branding Advisory Committee (BAC)
Arti Balakrishna ........................... (Southeast)
Kasia Braun ................................. (Northeast)
Marilyn Fenton ............................ (Canada East)
Bruce Fitterer ............................... (Northwest)
Sue McLean ................................ (Central)
Anne Parham ............................. (Southwest)
Hina Patel .................................... (Central East)

I'm a little intimidated about being included in this group of amazing, successful, experienced Instructors, but I am absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to share my experiences, learn from the group, and MAYBE provide some ideas/thoughts/suggestions as to how KNA will increase KUMON brand awareness in North America. Increased awareness and "top-of-mind" recognition will benefit all of us :-)

I'll keep you posted on the upcoming BAC happenings and am looking forward to visiting with my fellow Kumon Instructors this summer in NYC.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and "happy weekend" to everyone.

I hope you all experience something amazing today~

~~~Miss Anne