June 21, 2019 | 02:27 AM

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28.08.2013What Small Business Can Learn From The Big Business Of College

The process of high school seniors applying to colleges is big business.

Aileron, Forbes.com

Make no mistake. The process of high school seniors applying to colleges is big business. There is a lot every small business owner can learn from how they pursue prospective students when they visit their campus:

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  1. Feed the People First: It immediately puts prospects in a buying mood. On every college campus tour, they feed you. People are happier and more likely to listen after they eat. Businesses learned this along time ago with a lot of presentations starting with coffee and donuts.
  2. Do Product Demonstrations: The vast majority of the presentations were from students as “satisfied customers” and showcased their work.
  3. Give References: All schools tell about their famous alumni and the success they had achieved. All businesses need to attach themselves to successful brands. If you have notable client references, use them prominently.
  4. Tell Stories: Every school paints a picture for parents and students of what it will be like to attend their school. Similarly, in your business, you need to tell prospects how good it will be once you solve their pain. People still buy dreams.
  5. Know Where You Make Money: The urban schools really pushed living on campus and using their meal plan. This is because these two areas (housing and food) are their most profitable part of their organization. For your business, understand where your profit is and sell those things.
  6. Address the Biggest Elephant In the Room Up Front: For colleges, it’s the outrageous cost. The biggest objection for attending college is the money so colleges are always talking about their generous aid packages or all the loans that are available. As a business, address the objection to buying your product up front and do not wait for the prospect to bring it up.
  7. Control the Demonstration of Product: Most schools show dorm rooms. Actually, most colleges really show a model of a dorm because they could not actually risk showing a real one. Try not to do live demos that don’t have predictable results in your business.
  8. Everyone and Everything Reflects Your Brand: Every experience you have at the school shapes your experience. Every interaction a customer has with a company whether it is in person, by phone or on the web builds or subtracts from the brand.
  9. Learn to Walk Backward. Every student tour guide learned this skill. In business, it may come in handy at trade shows!
  10. Have an iPhone App. Every school has one, do you?

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