Selling to Education: Winning Million Dollar Sales

By Keith Center

(572 words)

We’ve all hear the expression “Love makes the world go ’round.” Well it’s not love, it’s money, lots of money. Currently we are in a recession, and frankly money has become hard to come by, especially for niche marketing to State and Local Government, Higher Education, k-12 and Non-Profits.

Even if you successfully get non-profits, education, or government, etc. to verbally commit, there is no real guarantee that you’ll get the sale because funding may not be there, or it could get cut in favor of greater needs.

As the trusted advisor, you need to provide them with the information on where the money can be found and how to get it.

Have you ever located a funding source, told your prospect about it and then wondered why you didn’t get the business?

If you follow this methodology, you will get the business. I’ve done it many times over.

The first time I stumbled across the methodology, we were doing a strategic IT plan for the University of Dayton College of Engineering.  A week before we were due to finish, the dean asked for all the details that we could provide so he could present the findings to the alumni on Friday evening.  The light bulb went on, though dimly.  I saw the complete methodology, though vaguely.

A few months later, we did a strategic IT plan for Thomas More College.  As soon as it was completed, the president took the plan to the Brown Foundation and presented the top priority with its root case, symptoms and solution, a fiber optic backbone.    The Brown Foundation gave them $700,000 and construction started almost immediately!

The light bulb now came on clearly for me.  It was one thing to do a strategic pan, but another to locate the funds for the priorities and assist the client in writing the proposal.

The biggest win was not in Education, but with Law Enforcement.  The local Regional Crime Information Center attended one of my workshops.  Later they explained that their levy had failed on the last two tries and they had approval from the county commissioners for one last try.

After explaining the methodology and the results, I was invited to present to law enforcement executives from the 48 agencies in the county.  To paraphrase Stephen Covey, “we started with the end in mind” by selecting the ideal target grant first.  They said that the idea was an absolute “no-brainer.”

It took us only a week to get surveys back from over 2,000 police, support staff and justice system staff.  Another week to interview 100 people.  Then two weeks to work on the solution and grant proposal.  In just four weeks we had documented a complete the strategic plan with root causes, symptoms and solutions with the expected results quantified and the grant proposal written submitted.

The result was amazing.  The award was $11.2 Million and was matched by the county for another $5 Million for a total of $16.2 Million!

When the bid for the first phase came out, our winning proposal was $4.8 Million in software and services, and the next closest bid was only $2.3 Million.  We were told that we won the award because we had the best and lowest proposal, not just the lowest.

In the next post I will start to break down my methodology and how you can start to implement it.

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