Sales Strategies Translated Into Educator Language

First and foremost, let’s block the image of a sleazy used car sales person from our media temporal lobes as you read this post…

I was one of those educators who came from a different career before being in the classroom. While I spent most of my time as an engineer, a vast majority of it was customer facing as either a systems engineer or sales engineer. My bottom line was to make sure the customer understood the solution and they were successful implementing it. Sound familiar?

As teachers, we are obviously not selling products, but we sure are trying to get our students to do things on an everyday basis. And yes, we definitely don’t want an army of salespeople as teachers (we can call agree to that), but there are some nuggets that have a translation into educator language.

5 Sales Strategies Translated Into Educator Language

Define Your Target Market

Sales 101 – It is important to understand who are the targeted customers and understand what problems you are trying to solve.

Classroom Translation – Know your students and what motivates them.

Determine Your Outreach

Sales 101 – To close the deal, you need to get in front of customers to sell. A savvy salesperson uses a variety of outreach strategies like cold calling, emails, marketing, networking, mixers and even just showing up on customer’s doorstep.

Classroom Translation – Differentiate the way you get your students to into what you are trying to make them do. From sage on the stage to guide on the side, a “withit” teacher will use different approaches to reach their diverse student population.

Know Your Questions

Sales 101 – Sales people look at this as a time to get to know your customer’s needs better. Have a list of questions to get to know your customers and their business needs. Conversely, a savvy salesperson will prepare for potential questions the customer will be asking during the sales call.

Classroom Translation – Two thoughts here. 1. This builds upon defining your target market and focuses in on specific customer needs. Take the time to know students individually, what are interests, motivations, skills, and learning modalities. 2. Visualize your lesson plan and anticipate what questions students will be asked from students. Be prepared.

Deliver and Build

Sales 101 – Returning customers and sustainable business is built from delivering on your products and nurturing lasting relationships. The sales process doesn’t end with customer signing the dotted line.

Classroom Translation – Relationships matter. Teachers who show empathy and love for students typically win at the game of engaging students. One my favorite sayings in education is that “Change Happens At The Speed of Trust.”


Sales 101 – The bottom line in sales is did you make your quota. Typically, companies will have a customer relationships management system (CRM) to track clients, progress, growth, and dollars. Peter Drucker said it best, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Classroom Translation – Whatever we teach in the classroom, we need a way to measure growth, improvement on failures (Fail Forward), and celebration of success. It is also important to monitor your students not just academically, but check-in on other important social, emotional, and life matters.