We are proud to say the Effective Selling to Schools workshop that took place on the 12th of May was a great success. The workshop was presented by Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) and SchoolAdvisor and hosted by CiTi. This one-day workshop focused on presenting practical tips to school suppliers on how to more effectively sell their product/service to schools.

So far, we have had only positive feedback:

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The presentations ranged from topics like “getting through the gatekeeper” and “selling to the International market” to “selling to government” and more. All presentations were based on practical experiences that the speakers have had when selling to the school market.

Here are some of the best moments from each speaker’s presentations.

Peter Morgan

The CEO of SchoolAdvisor spoke about his personal experiences when selling to schools. He gave practical tips on understanding the South African school market, getting through the gatekeeper, alternative routes to schools, and selling 101.

Peter opened his presentation on “understanding the South African school market” with this statement: “it is easier to call a CEO of a listed company than a headmaster from a primary school.”

He says the problem is that a large percentage of schools don’t have the necessary skills to manage purchasing and that, in effect, a lot of money is wasted and it is hard for new suppliers to enter the market.

When talking about “getting through the gatekeeper,” Pete spoke about his business venture with The School Communicator. He spoke about how they grew from nothing to being something. He also mentioned the pricing strategies they used and spoke about their unusual sales team.

One of the most useful and interesting pieces of advice he gave was when he spoke on what to do and what not to do when selling to schools.

In his “alternative routes to schools” presentation, he mentioned certain key conferences to attend and what/who to expect at each one. He then spoke about social media and other digital platforms (like his own business, SchoolAdvisor) that can be used to reach schools.

Jamie Martin

The head of Africa’s first EdTech incubator programme detailed his experiences selling to the international market and provided useful stats and analytics into various international markets.

Jamie explained the types of schools that you will find in the international market and spoke on the buying power and autonomy of each.

He spoke on the perception, cost, and procurement challenges in reaching the international school market.

A big focus of his presentation was on how tech is helping close the gap for South Africans to sell to the international school market and he supported this by saying, “I believe EdTech is the next big leapfrog opportunity in which Africa can lead the world.”

Rian Truter

The former headmaster, educationist, and inspirational speaker presented a highly entertaining and gripping talk on “getting through the gatekeeper.”

Rian’s presentation was both lively and very entertaining. He went as far as comparing some schools to a dinosaur!

The focus of the presentation was on how to get through the first and most difficult obstacle, the secretary, who is mandated to protect the head’s time. He said that being personal and doing small things like bringing the secretary a gift goes a long way.

He also mentioned that the 3rd term is the best term to sell to schools and that ‘ARROGANCE’ is the hardest label to shake off your brand.

He closed his lively presentation by encouraging all suppliers to go the extra mile (it’s never crowded) and reminded them that it is not just about selling.

Kobus van Wyk

The CEO at ADESSA shared his vast expertise on selling to the government. He shared personal experiences and stressed the importance of forming meaningful business partnerships.

Kobus spoke about the red tape that you have to face when selling to government but quickly shifted focus to give practical tips on how to get through barriers and over hurdles.

He said that the problem is not money but that the problem is the mind of the person you are selling to. Saying that technophobia was no issue at all but that, methathesiaphobia (the fear of change), is the true issue.

The main focus and crux of what he was saying was that collaboration is the key to success when selling to government. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

Kobus has vast experience when it comes to selling to government. In fact, his business, ADESSA, focuses on how to communicate effectively with government, fellow members, and educational institutions.