How to Use Employers’ Curiosity Gap To Win Contracts

Lowenstein and the curiosity gap What is the Curiosity Gap and how does it apply to Employer Engagement & Business Development ?

George Lowenstein coined a theory he called the Curiosity Gap. In it he suggests that as soon as we realise there is a gap in our knowledge, we strive to fill it.

In Employer Engagement and Business Development we can take advantage of the Curiosity Gap by using a very simple formula. Continue reading

How to Generate Higher Value Sales on Your Website

How to Generate Higher Value Sales on Your WebsiteHow to Generate Higher Value Employer Engagement Sales ...

Using Figures on Your Course Pages is a Form of Anchoring That Can Be Used to Generate Higher Value Sales on a Website

I've talked about Anchoring [Tversky and Kahneman (1974)] in previous posts.

Continue reading

Negotiation Secrets: How to Negotiate From a Weak Position


Negotiate From a Weak Position
How to Negotiate From a Weak Position

Negotiating From a Position of Weakness is Daunting

But reframe the situation and you realise some strengths.  With nothing to lose there is ... well nothing to lose!

And thinking you've no chance of winnning the other side can get quite sloppy and can underrate you.  This is your hidden secret. With it you can now build a winning strategy

Building Your Winning Strategy

Continue reading

Why Too Much Action is Detrimental to Success

Action Doesn't mean you have to get caught in the hamster wheel How to Achieve Success in a Busy Action Packed World

All Around Me I See People in Constant Motion. They are in Hamster Wheels of Activity

They are running from task to task, meeting to meeting, often with a phone welded to their ear.

But when you are this busy there is only one certain result. You miss the overview. You fail to learn enough to plan a strategy. You miss out on the crucial elements vital for you to achieve success.

The only results you get are activity and low achievement because when you have your nose to the grindstone life is pretty awful. The problem is that ..........

Constant Action Drives Out Deep, Meaningful Thought

Continue reading

How to Turn Website Visitors into Students

website conversionTurn Website Visitors into Students

So many people write or blog about the black art of getting more website visitors; but far fewer focus on getting those visitors to become students (customers).

Converting visitors isn't a black art. It's not magic. It's the application of a very simple marketing process.

There are three parts to it.

Continue reading

Value Based Pricing Strategies for FE Business Development

Value Based Pricing Strategies are an FHE business development strategy essential in FE Value Based Pricing is an Alternative Pricing Strategy Few FE Providers Use

Most FE Providers ignore Value Based Pricing Strategies and go for Flat Pricing with a single option. For example, a course is charged at £195 per person. There are no other options.

This is a quick and easy way to quote but it means you are going to be compared with your competitors on price. And that means someone will always try to do it cheaper and, even if you get the work, the margins are very slim.

Continue reading

The Power of Three in Sales & Marketing

The Power of Three in Sales and markletingThe Power of Three Makes Sales More Certain

The Power of Three is a very simple idea that can really provide improved sales and marketing results.

What is the Power of Three?

The power of three is simple, but lets start with the number one. When you offer people one option .. or a take it or leave it option .. they have no choice and there is a high chance you fail to make a sale.

But give people several options and the choice goes from deciding if they want your course to deciding which option they want.

Sadly FE rarely offers people options that could sell more. But they could if they follow this advice.

Examples of the Power of Three Options

Say you are selling a First Aid course. The Power of Three in Selling First Aid Courses

Lots of colleges sell these courses and buyers decide on location and price. Where several providers exist in a buyers area they then often buy based on price alone.

The Power of Three says you should offer the standard course at a given price but then offer two further options. These could be based on anything to providing free coffee and or lunch to things like online QA after the course. Continue reading

Who Needs an Elevator Pitch? Aren’t They Dead?

The elevator pitch is deadThe Elevator Pitch is Dead

Do you recall the elevator pitch?. You had to tell people about yourself in the time it took to go a few floors in a lift or on an elevator. My US friends need to translate .. what Americans call an elevator we cal a lift in the UK.

Most people focused on something like "I'm Stefan and I am a marketing consultant".  It was all about the speaker and very boring.

A better concept is to talk about what they need.  So when I meet a principal in a lift I get a better response if I say something like, "I'm Stefan and I've just increased applications at x college buy 30% and cut their marketing budget by £100k. Would you be interested in learning how we did it?"  Continue reading

Use Student Email to Produce a Detailed Customer Profile

Customer profile. Using a Phone Number or Email You Can Obtain Customer Profile Information Direct From the Facebook DatabaseUsing a Phone Number or Email You Can Obtain Customer Profile Information Direct From the Facebook Database

OK, thinking about your customer profile; you probably know how you can target audiences and  create lookalike audiences using an existing email list.

But did you know you can take an audience segment and get audience insights for that list? This is powerful customer profile data that really helps you boost sales and marketing.

You might decide you want to know more about 16-18 year olds that are on engineering or beauty courses.

Or perhaps you want to target employers that attended a particular event or college webinar (you are doing college webinars aren't you?).

Once you do this you open the door to seeing where they live, their gender, age, interests etc. Continue reading

What is the FE Marketing Silly Season?

FE Marketing Silly Season Stay Calm, Don't PanicSeveral FE marketing colleagues contacted me during the FE Marketing Silly Season

All were highly hacked off.

What is the FE Marketing Silly Season? Why were people hacked off?  They were hacked off simply because they had worked hard all year and felt that their professionalsim was under attack.

And what is it? The FE Marketing Silly Season is when provider senior staff look at numbers and decide that action is needed. By that I mean an extra marketing push is needed. My colleagues tell me that the senior staff then come up with all sorts of marketing initiatives and insist that the marketing department implement them immediately. Continue reading

How To Coax Reluctant Buyers

Reluctant Buyers Don't Always Explain Their Hesitation Whether Encouraging Prospective Students or Employers We've All Sensed Prospective Customers That Are Reluctant to Proceed. 

When Reluctant Buyers voice their issues it is relatively easy as we have been trained to handle the situation; we know about sales objections and how to handle them. The real problem comes when we just sense their reluctance but it is left unsaid.

So what do we Brits do? Often we leave sleeping dogs to lie. We don't like raising problems. this is mainly because we try to avoid conflict at all costs.

The result is the meeting or negotiation goes well, there is no conflict and we part "good friends". But the student never reappears or the employer doesn't place the order for training or doesn't proceed with taking an apprentice.

Everyone has wasted their time.  It is a lose lose situation.

Handling Reluctant Buyers Unsaid Sales Objections

Continue reading

Once Upon a Time There Was a College Restaurant

Why some college restaurants need to closeCollege Restaurants are about to hit the news.  Some providers are about to announce expansion plans with city centre commercial premises .. and others are quietly closing their restauarants.

Neither route is necessarily the one other providers should follow.  But we all should ensure our commercial activites are there for the right reason.  And that has to be to provide our students with the very best training and education we can provide.  They deserve no less.

Sadly many providers close over the summer period and, whilst i agee that staff need a break, I'm not convinced college restaurants should close over the summer.

You can read more about my views in my latest FE News article entitled ........Why Some College Restaurants Need to Close

How to Brief a Website Designer

How to Brief a Website Designer. Website Specification is Essential if You are to brief your website designerWebsites Cost a Lot of Money, So Correctly Briefing Your Website Designer is Vital if You Want Value for Money from Your Designer

How to Brief a Website Designer

Over the last ten years I've specified a lot of education websites. I've also reviewed a lot of website specs drawn up by providers. So How to Brief a Website Designer is now second nature to me; but lots of people struggle with it. Specifying the website is key to getting your site right, but it needs detailed and concise specification.

A lot of good web designers tell me that too many clients haven't much idea what they want in a website except it should be a "good site" or a site like one of their competitors.

No designer can give you value for money with such an imprecise specification. The good ones will probe for detail but the unethical designers (and there are a lot of them out there) will rip you off by fulfilling your imprecise instructions at high cost (then blame you for not briefing them properly).

Website Specification Detail

In the last few years I've specified many websites and my experience is that a specification needs to be at least 30-40 pages in length to be detailed enough to provide a designer with sufficient information. And I don't mean a document full of screengrabs of sites that are liked or disliked; I mean hard facts.

It is necessary to specify your customer profiles, the products and/or services you wish to offer, the Calls to Action you require to be followed and the apps, plugins and functions you wish to provide.  In most cases it is the function we wish to provide e.g. an appointment booking system, rather than the actual app or plugin to be used as the designer should have a more up to date knowledge of these and how they will interface with other systems and functions. Continue reading

Risk Management, FHE Websites/Databases at Risk

Risk Management from IT Crash, Server Problems and Wasted Websites Risk Management: Unseen Risks in Your Department Could Crash The Organisation.

Imagine the scene.  Late Friday night your servers go down.  No one notices and  even if they did the premises are locked and no one can get in to repair the problem.

On Monday someone spots the problem but it is impossible to remedy the fault as your IT server back up has failed.

You no longer have a website .. the MIS system has also packed up .. and you can't access any of your files.  In fact the total IT system has collapsed and can't be repaired.

So the organisation closes down and you are left without a job!

Risk Management

Far fetched?

NO!

I've recently surveyed a lot of providers and this scenario is possible in many of them.

In my latest FE News article I highlight some of the reasons this can happen and how to prevent it happening to you.

To discover more read FE At Risk: Clear & Present Danger

Almost Instant Video & Audio Transcriptions for FE

Audio Transcriptions: Rapid audio and video transcriptions Audio Transcriptions: Being able to post a transcription of a video, keynote speech or lecture has many benefits.

Cost has always been a factor in obtaining audio transcriptions as has making recordings. But the costs have now virtually disappeared and recording the words has never been easier.

Let's take the words first.  The simple way to do this .. if you don't have access to a lot of expensive kit is to use a mobile phone and a low cost Lavaliere microphone. I personally use the PRO70 (£111.28 the day I wrote this post), but there are other options.  Lavaliere mics plug into your Android or iPhone and will record either sound only, or sound and video.

Continue reading

What is Psychological Nudging?

Psychological Nudging: The Government's BehaviourImages of Eyes are useful for psychological nudgingal Insights Team, aka The Nudge Unit, has been in existence for many years, but few people know of it.  

However it can teach FE a thing or two about marketing and business development.

Psychological nudging is used by government to encourage us to do things we might not otherwise want to do. Things like pay their road tax.

A few years ago the Nudge Unit suggested that DVLA changed their normal long-winded letter to suspected non payers and sent a very simple message to those suspected on non payment. It simply said, Pay Your Road Tax or Lose Your Car.

Payments from previous non payers doubled.  And when a photo of the vehicle was added payments tripled.

Outside of government nudge methods  also work.  Where honesty boxes are used the level of non payment significantly drops if you put an image of a pair of eyes next to the box! Continue reading

Lifetime Value: What’s a Customer Worth?

Lifetime Value of CustomersThe Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Customer is Important. So Using the Supermarket "Lost Leader" Concept to Grow Your Provider Business Is Essential. 

So often a course fails due to low numbers.  You have nine people signed up and you need ten to be viable.  So you send nine people away unhappy because you ignored Lifetime Value.

Often it feels like this is the only way forward.  It makes economic sense.  OR does it? Continue reading

Coffee Gets Additional Business

Hfree coffee is a way to build relationships ow Often Do Your Clients Become Past Memories? 

For example you might have had students from a particular business for years and then they suddenly stop enrolling one year. Or maybe a school was an excellent feeder for years and then started to tail off. The answer could be coffee!

The schools issue is not so common with most providers as they often have a dedicated schools liaison person.  And that fact indicates the problem with the former. You see if no one is tasked with keeping in touch with current customers they soon get forgotten.  It isn't enough to think that your courses are great and they will keep on coming.  All it takes is for a competitor to appear and woo them away from you.

But if you keep in touch with them on  a regular basis then they are far less likely to disappear. Ideally you should be sending them some useful snippets of info, or some top tips relevant to them, on  a regular basis.

Continue reading

Marketing Without Email

Internet Marketers Claim Email Lists Are Where The Money Is To Be Found.Marketing Without Email

In fact many internet marketers spend huge amounts of time, money and effort building their "lists" .. of email addresses. They can't contemplate marketing without email.

And while it is true that email is an important facet of marketing, I'm not convinced it is the "be all and end all" it is often claimed. In fact I've ditched my lists and CRM in my own busienss and have developed another strategy which, for me, works even better and is less effort.

Continue reading

Trivial Colleges Mooted For Closure

What are trivial colleges?

Why will they close?

My recent article in FE News explains all

Trivial colleges will become  Extinct First