Picture this: a chef receives complaints about how his food is under-seasoned and is baffled by the criticism as he knows that he has never made such a mistake before. He decides to face the music and goes out of the kitchen to listen to the customer himself and meet their requirements. He listens as they list out their issues with the food- it’s too bland, the added cream makes it heavy, and so on. So, he makes a note of it, promises to replace their order, and goes back to the kitchen. He adds spices, removes dairy products, and sticks to the requests the customer has made. He brings back the same dish, now made to the customer’s specific requirements. The customer is pleased, and touched by the chef’s effort, is now a regular at the same restaurant. What you’ve just read is the art of overcoming sales objections

Sales objections are inevitable when engaging with clients from any sphere of life. While handling these objections can be challenging, the key to success is to practice empathy, not just with the customer but also with yourself. These are subjective complaints you receive from your customers, and there is no recipe outlining ingredients that can match everyone’s taste. These objections may be about features of the product, concerns about implementation or purchase, queries about product functionality, and so on. So the next time you receive any objections to the product you sell, put yourself in their shoes. 

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 

Contents:

Why do you need to handle sales objections?

21 Most common sales objections and strategies to handle them
>>Financial constraints objections
>>Objections related to a lack of understanding or information
>>Competitor-related sales objections
>>Source or company-related objections
>>Implementation and need-based objections
>>Bandwidth-related objections

Guidelines to handle sales objections effectively

Objections are opportunities to build relationships

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 

Why do you need to handle sales objections? 


You may be wondering – why handle sales objections when you can deal with a responsive, interested buyer instead? When handling sales objections, we need to realize that objections do not signify a dismissal. An objection indicates your customer’s interest in the product. A dismissal is the opposite of that. When your customer expresses an objection, they mean to say, 

“I want to buy the product, but I’m not entirely sold on its use to me.”

 In comparison, a dismissal is a lot clearer and is along the lines of: 

“No, I’m not interested in buying this product.” 

When dealing with sales objections, keep your eye on the prize: overcoming the objection and moving closer to winning the buyer’s commitment.

The next section of this article describes common sales objections and techniques to effectively overcome them.

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 

21 Most common sales objections and strategies to handle them


Financial constraints objections


1. “I can’t afford it.”

 Now, this one is a pretty straightforward objection. You can’t sell to someone who truly cannot afford it. Here’s where asking for further reasons as to why they can’t afford it, figuring out whether they can afford it but would prefer to be sure of their investment gives a window of opportunity that didn’t exist before.

Find out if they’re currently using a similar product. Are they losing money that they could gain with your product? Question why they can’t afford it gently, as they may seriously not be able to do so. If they are using a competitor’s product or a substitute for your product, highlight the benefits your product could provide in its place. 

Example Script:

Oh, you don’t have a lead management system in place, which is why you’re struggling to gain a solid customer base. Well, that’s exactly what my product solves, as it’s a CRM that helps you to manage your leads efficiently. Your ROI will be higher than your current sales forecast when you implement a CRM to manage your leads.

Try to find out the root cause of their objection. Think about whether your product can solve those problems or bring in new benefits and only then sell. There’s no gain on either side if your customer can’t profit from your product, as that means you’ll lose them eventually anyway. 

2. “It’s too expensive.”

A sales objection involving the price being too high almost always indicates the chance of persuading your customer that it’s worth the price. For example, if you live in Bangalore or have been for a short vacation, you may have had the chance to visit the iconic ice cream shop, Corner House. Their ice cream prices may seem high compared to what you get at a supermarket, but what you don’t know is their brand’s philosophy. Corner House’s CEO came up with the term “scoop value,” where each scoop is standardized to match its price. Most people who’ve had the opportunity to try their ice creams almost always agree, the price is right when the flavour feels worth it.

Similarly, “it’s too expensive” objection can be solved through an easy reply. 

Example Script:

Instead of purchasing our product all at once, why don’t you experience it for ____ days as a free trial. Once you do, you’ll know for yourself if it’s worth the price.

A trial gives your customer the time to assess the product’s usefulness while also displaying a sense of confidence and trust. Now they’ve used it and still haven’t experienced as many benefits as expected, explain the importance of time. If your product brings in slow but steady results, you can convey the same to your customer.

3. “Your product is more expensive than the product I’m currently using.”

Any sales objection involving your competitor’s product gives you a good chance of making the shift to your product. The easiest way to do so is to know what the other product lacks and bring out the differences between both products. You don’t need to be straightforward with your product’s superiority. Instead, demonstrate what your product does when compared to your competitor. This is where some amount of competitor research would help in being prepared to face such sales objections. Use the following script as a response to this objection.

 Example script: 

Price is crucial, but it’s also necessary to consider the value for money. You stated that real-time inventory data was a critical strategic concern for your company. Our product provides the same free of any integration costs, and one of our customers has hugely benefitted from its use for the majority of their data-related processes. *Quote related customer success story*.

4. “I don’t want to or can’t afford getting stuck in a contract.”

Any sales objection involving contracts as a reason can easily be circumvented by customizing the contract to meet your customer’s needs. If they don’t want or can’t afford a year-long contract, settle for quarterly or monthly (if it can be considered). Once they experience the benefits of your product, they will be more compelled to invest in it for extended periods. If you truly cannot change the contract terms, you’ll need to convince them of the value that they will get from this investment.

Example Script:

I see your point. Let’s chat about the various contract terms and payment plans I have available. Perhaps these are a better match.

5. “We don’t have the budget for this.”

Now, this sales objection depends wholly on timing. Your customer may not have the budget for this right now. Find out whether they can’t afford it right now or if they can’t afford it at all. There’s no way of predicting the future, so instead, go with the following script. 

Example Script: 

Oh alright, whenever you get the funds to implement our product, do let me know! Or we can discuss how you can achieve greater sales using our product, as it essentially pays for itself.

Depending on your customer’s response to the above script, you can go ahead with their requests. 

Note to remember: With any price-related objection, it’s crucial to find out if the person you’re discussing with is a decision-maker. If the employee you’re negotiating with isn’t a decision-maker, they may not know or be aware of what the company can and cannot afford. Another point to keep in mind is that finance-related objections are almost always solved when your customer experiences value or the benefits your product brings to their processes. So don’t fret if you’re frequently met with this objection. It’s a common one that you can handle with ease, as long as you ensure that they can afford it. 

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 


6. “I’m not sure if this is the right product for my organization.”

You may see this as an objection, but in reality, it means that your customer doesn’t have enough information about the product.

If they state that they feel unsure about the benefits they can experience with your product even after you’ve outlined them, turn the question around. Ask them what challenges they’re facing, and if you can prove that your product can help overcome those challenges, you can now win them over.

In any call, it’s helpful to understand what issues the customer may be facing and to highlight the solutions your product provides. Doing this makes it a much stronger sale as they know your product is the right fit for their organization. 

Example Script: 

Why do you feel that way? What challenges are you currently facing? Once you let me in on what will be right for your organization, we can figure out if my product does match your expectations.

7. “We don’t have any experience using this product.”

Your customer could have little to no experience using your product or similar products in the market – making it a lot harder for them to understand the benefits. In such scenarios, they aren’t just questioning your product’s value but also whether your company will be helpful during implementation. So when you’re answering, don’t just outline how this product can benefit them or how experience isn’t necessary. Conversely, steer them in the direction of a sale by saying the following-

Example Script: 

I understand your concern. It makes sense to be apprehensive about something you’ve never personally experienced. But I’d like to point out some of our existing customers who were in the same boat, and they can vouch for our company’s customer service. We are always available to assist you during and after implementation if necessary.

8. “I don’t understand how your product functions.”

If you get this objection after spending a long time explaining your product, it may just mean your product is more complex than your customer’s needs. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up entirely. You can take a different route altogether. Provide your customer with content you have on hand that breaks down your product in simple terms. Be it an eBook, article, brochure, or video, give them more easily understandable content. 70% of people would rather get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post than from a traditional advertisement. So when you receive this objection, move your customer to your marketing team’s creations. 

Example Script: 

I understand. Would you prefer to get to know our product better through other means? We recently created an eBook that outlined our product’s features, functions, and advantages. Once you read through it, I’m sure you’ll have a deeper understanding of our product.

9. “We’ve tried similar products with very little success.”

A sales objection along these lines is relatively easy to handle. The customer is genuinely trying to get at the fact that they’ve never benefitted from other similar products in the market. It means that there’s a high chance those products never matched their expectations. This doesn’t mean your product won’t; they may have had unsuccessful experiences due to various reasons. So, instead of selling your product, enquire as to why the previous products failed. If your product doesn’t fall under the same features or functions, you can let them know the same. Once you have an idea of their needs, you can also be sure whether this sale is profitable for both parties. 

Example Script: 

What products have you used previously? Our product has unique use cases and offers multiple customizations to meet customer-specific needs. Have you experienced using the X feature and its benefits previously?

10. “I’ve found out that your product is (untrue statement) from a trusted source.”

A sales objection that goes into the unchartered territory of false information is easily solvable. If your customer has come across some unverified details on your product, you can dispel these fears by showing examples of how it isn’t true. Rather than persuading or convincing them with your words, demonstrate the feature or function they have a misunderstanding about. If the misconception is something more profound or related to customer service, ask them about the specific statement they have come across. Gently enquire with the following script.

Example Script: 

“Where did you come across this information? It isn’t very true, and I can show you how…”

Continue by demonstrating what your product does, which clarifies to your customer that they have received some amount of false information. 

11. “You don’t provide X feature.”

If this sales objection comes from a place of absolute necessity and your product does not provide the specific feature, it would be best to move on from this prospect. On the other hand, if the feature they need has to perform a particular function that a similar feature can provide, you can sell. Probe a little further and ask them what they plan on achieving with the specific feature. In this manner, you can figure out if any other existing feature your product provides can help them reach the same goals. 

Example Script: 

I would like to know why you want that specific feature. What do you aim to achieve with it? We may have other features that can carry out the same function in a different process.

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 


12. “We are happy with our current vendor.”

Any sales objection along these lines will provide an uphill battle of sorts for any salesperson. It can be challenging if you don’t have information about their vendor’s product. Always ensure that you’re aware of your competitor’s products and pricing.  

In this circumstance, the best plan of action is to engage your customer in a series of questions about what they like that their vendor offers. First, find out the specific benefits they derive from the product. You can show how your product performs at a better price or with more varied features using the same benefits. Maybe your product offers an evolved version of a feature they have benefitted from. Find out in detail what they like and present your point. Follow this script in this case.

Example Script: 

Oh, what have you achieved with _____ product? I see. Did you know we offer the same features with an added benefit of _____ and _____?

13. “I’m already bound to a contract with competitor X.”

This sales objection sounds more like a need for change. In the above objection, the customer stated that they were happy with their vendor; here, they express it in a less favorable light. Unless you have read too deeply into their tone and are sure that the prospect is satisfied with their current vendor, you have ample opportunities to sell.

You can inquire whether they are happy with their vendor, what features they predominantly use, and so on. If you can come up with discounts, features they don’t have, or benefits that can help their business more than their previous vendor does, you’ve made your sale. You can even circle back when the contract is over.

Example Script: 

How do you like (competitor’s) product and service? I can offer____ discounts on a product with similar features.

14. “Your competitor offers cheaper rates.” 

Figure out what you’re up against in this situation. Is this cheaper rate something that covers all the same features your product does? Is this your customer trying to cut a better deal for themselves, or are these rates accurate? Or is your client under the notion that a similar, less expensive product will suffice? If it’s one of the first two scenarios, stress the attributes that highlight your product’s superiority, and give best possible discounts with limited functionalities. On the other hand, the third question gives you more leeway as you can explain why your product is worth the price. Follow this example script in these situations.

Example Script: 

What are key differences between our product and your alternative? What gives you the most satisfaction and benefits?

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 


15. “I have heard (false information) about your organization.”

This objection is very similar to the 10th point in this list. The difference, though, lies in your customer’s misunderstanding about your company. Fake news can significantly alter the financial market as a whole if this story gains enough traction. This has been evident back in 2013 when the official Associated Press Twitter account tweeted about two explosions injuring President Barack Obama. In minutes over $130 billion in stock value was lost, yet soon after, they found that the account was hacked (Cheo 2018). 

These misunderstandings are far more sensitive and need to be handled as carefully as possible. Whatever information they have received or heard can be damaging to your company’s reputation. So in this scenario, whether you make the sale or not, make sure you don’t let the misconceptions persist. Use the following script in these situations, for example, if you receive an objection about your false unsustainable practices. 

Example Script: 

I would like to know where you found such information regarding our organization. We do our best to promote sustainable practices as our ____ product is made sustainably and ethically. You can contact our employees if you would like further information and proof regarding this matter.

When your customer is fully aware of the information, they are much more likely to buy your products. Any objection a customer raises against the company’s brand or image must be handled appropriately. 79% of consumers change their purchase preferences based on social responsibility, inclusiveness, or environmental impact. Furthermore, COVID-19 has raised customer knowledge and commitment to sustainable purchasing: Because of the COVID-19 situation, 67 percent of consumers indicated they would be more careful about natural resource scarcity, and 65 percent said they would be more conscious of the consequences.

16. “I’ve not heard of your company before this, I don’t think you’ve been around for a long time, so I’m not sure of how trustworthy you are.”

Source objections to the firm may come through comments concerning the company’s consistency or financial health and how the organization conducts business. However, this is an opportunity for you to highlight your organization’s capabilities to your prospect. Use the following example when this situation arises.

Example Script: 

I understand why you might be concerned but let me get you through some facts about the company that I believe will calm your fears. Our company receives funds from some of the industry’s most powerful investors. They invested in the company because they believe in providing greater solutions to businesses like yours. (Statistics about your company’s growth, different metrics can all be used in these situations. Quoting success stories of businesses similar to theirs would also help).

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 

Implementation and need-based objections


17. “Your product takes too much time to implement and is complex.”

Any objection about implementation time should focus on how much time they can provide to implement your product. It isn’t a dismissal, and it offers two positives. The first being the fact that they like your product, making the sale far more straightforward. Second, time rarely matters unless they’re launching something or need you to implement it within a specific time frame. Your next step should be to ask them how much time they can spare for implementation. If it is doable, then the sale is a success. If not, follow this script.

Example Script: 

Our product’s implementation time depends on your needs rather than our product itself. But we can plan the sprint as per your business priorities. This way, you will also start noticing a difference in ROI within the first few months of the implementation plan.

18. “Your product doesn’t solve the challenges my organization faces.”

Now, this objection is a real red flag because it means you haven’t gained an understanding of what the customer wants. In this situation, retrace your steps, and ask them what challenges they do face. Once you figure that out, you can evaluate whether your product can meet their expectations. If it does, go ahead with your reasons for how it can help them. If not, let it go, this sale was never yours to make, and that’s okay. 

This objection comes in different forms of “Your product isn’t the right fit for my organization.” Or “Your product’s features are unnecessary to our growth.” All of which are valid reasons not to buy. Question why they have these opinions, but if you’re provided with a reasonable answer, move on to the next prospect. 

19. “You don’t understand my business/needs well enough.”

You can overcome industry-specific objections once you conduct some research into how they function. If you sell to a particular industry, you’re probably familiar with that specific sector. Let them know that you’ve worked with similar firms before and that you’ve handled difficulties identical to theirs. If you assumed the wrong thing about your prospect’s firm or sector, don’t be afraid of admitting it. Your customers will appreciate your honesty. If the second objection arises, this is the script to follow.

Example Script:

I’m so sorry if I’ve misunderstood what your sector calls for, do let me know what you specifically require. I’ll try my best to assess how we can match your expectations.

Note: avoid using words like “pitch” while speaking to prospects. For example, saying: “I’ll share the updated pitch deck as per your problem statement” is a bad idea. People don’t like being pitched. They want you to solve their problem. So, instead, you can say, “I’ll share the updated solutions deck as per your problem statement.”

20. “Your product only covers some of our needs; we need something more comprehensive.”

Customers always prefer a product where they can gain multiple uses and benefits. If your product only offers specific features, but your customer expects more, take the specialization angle. If your product integrates with other software features that the customer needs, do let them know. So don’t lose heart; present some metrics and benefits that customers of a similar background have felt with your product. If they still want a one-stop solution for their needs, move right on; sometimes, the best can’t do it all.

Example Script: 

I understand your needs require more comprehensive solutions. But our product specializes in a feature that greatly increases ROI. You can invest in other products for features you may need after achieving such results with us.

Those were some examples of objections that may come your way. But you may face drastically different objections, and you might find yourself unaware of how to respond. In these situations, use the following guidelines to assess the objection and overcome it.

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 


21. “We don’t have the bandwidth to make this work for us.”

Such objection arises when the prospect has liked your product/solution and wants to buy but is genuinely concerned about the lack of bandwidth.

In this situation, help them understand the simplicity of your product and that it doesn’t need the time and resources that they presumed. Tell them how you’ve solved the same hesitation for one of your clients and how happy they are with the results. If your prospect lacks resources, but you can help them with the installation, tell them. Of course, there’ll be charges associated, but don’t let the deal go cold because of this reason. If they still need some more time to think through, give them time and space to discuss internally. Here’s a script you can follow.

Example script:

Oh, it’s not as resource intensive as you might think. Here’s an example from our customer who spent just “X days” setting it up. And if you can’t spare the time at all, we also have plans where we set it all up for you.

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 

Guidelines to handle sales objections effectively


Sales objections rarely express outright disinterest in purchasing products; instead, they signify a lack of trust or understanding from the customer’s side. You can effectively handle the objections from prospective buyers when you:

  1. Listen to them
  2. Understand their reasons for risk
  3. Prepare to handle objections

Learn to listen

Most salespeople misunderstand that the more they try to convince a prospect to buy, the more chances they have of making a sale. However,  95% of buyers state that the typical salesperson talks too much, and 74% of buyers said they were much more likely to buy if that salesperson would listen to them.

The pre-pandemic era gave us opportunities to zero in on body language and other non-verbal cues. But now, almost all interactions take place with a screen separating both parties, making it all the more important to hone your listening skills.

For instance, we asked salespeople from different industry verticals about the challenges they face these days while selling. 34.48% of respondents said communication challenges, and 34.48% said the inability to understand customer’s sentiments (during one-on-one interactions).

Key challenges salespeople face

The truth is, most people prefer thinking that they chose to buy or not buy; they don’t want to be convinced into anything. The easier way of handling this is to instead listen to their objections.

Understand their reason for risk 

Instead of refuting with your reasons for why they should buy, understand their reasons for objections first. For example, let’s look at a situation where listening and understanding would lead to a sale. 

What won’t work effectively is –

  • Customer A: “I don’t think the product is worth its price tag.”
  • Agent B: “These are the reasons for why it is.”

In this situation, you’ve given them reasons without asking them why they think your product/service isn’t worth the price. While you may persuade some with generic reasons, others may not be as quick to do so. Follow this script instead-

  • Customer Y: “I don’t think the product is worth my money.”
  • Agent X: “Oh, well, can you explain to me why you feel that way.”
  • Customer Y: “It doesn’t have ABC features I’m looking for, and that’s why I wanted to purchase the product in the first place.”
  • Agent X: “Ah, I see, but did you know this product does offer two out of three of those features? Additionally, the feature we don’t offer, which you’re looking for, actually causes more harm than good. Here’s why….”

This way, you’re offering reasons specific to your customer’s needs. You now know their needs better than you previously did, and your customer appreciates your ability to listen. If the product they’re looking at doesn’t offer any of those features. But a similar product you’re selling does divert their attention to that product. This way, you ensure that the customer is satisfied with your ability to understand their needs and you’ve made a sale. 

Preparing- saving for a rainy day

Finally, preparing for a sales objection involves anticipating these objections and having valid reasons to quell these concerns. Think of it this way, on a summer day; nobody leaves their home expecting it to rain. So they leave their umbrella behind, not realizing that this is also when cyclones typically hit their neighboring state. Now they’re caught in heavy rain, umbrella-less and drenched.

Preparing for such situations ensures fewer chances of having your sale go down the drain. One way to prepare yourself to handle these objections is by segmenting your customers. When you create a customer profile, try to include important details like location, age, gender, etc. Segmenting your customers makes it far easier to understand their needs. 

When you distribute them to agents, you can make sure they reach out to customers who speak their language and reside in the same state or city. People have a much greater chance of listening to someone who speaks their language. Salespeople can be more comfortable and confident while making a sale. Customers can make more queries and objections when communicating without feeling hesitant to present their point. 

Now let’s move on to why sales objections are important and how you can benefit from handling them successfully. 

You can also download the pdf to share with your friends or refer to it later. 

Objections are opportunities to build relationships


  • Strengthening relationships: Handling objections gives you the chance to improve your relationship with the prospect. It increases your understanding of your customer’s needs. By allowing the relationship to grow slowly and organically, you demonstrate your patience, sensitivity, and sincerity. Meeting these expectations further cements solid foundations for your future dealings with the customer.  

  • Increasing transparency: By handling objections, you put your customer at ease with your company. They have more reason to trust and depend on your assistance when you help them overcome such roadblocks. 67% of participants in an Edelman Global trust report agree on: “a good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I trust the company creating the product, I will soon stop buying it.”

  • Objections are opportunities: almost every sales objection you come across is an opportunity to sell. The key takeaway from this article is to realize the value of persistence in sales. Did you know that around 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting? 44% of sales reps reportedly give up after a single follow-up. Whatever objections your prospect hands out to you, please don’t give up unless they specifically ask you to do so. 

If you’re looking for one such tool that supports your sales agents in their follow-ups, choose LeadSquared’s CRM. Notify salespeople when a lead performs a meaningful action or progresses through the sales funnel. This ensures that your team gets to the prospects on time and never misses a sale.

Book a demo now to experience efficiency with LeadSquared’s CRM!

The Covid pandemic had a chilling impact on college enrollments in 2020. Even though vaccinations have become widely available, questions remain for the fall semester, and early indications are that enrollment does not look promising. So, what steps can academic institutions take to attract more students?

“Turbulent” perfectly describes education since spring 2020. In the blink of an eye, schools closed their doors, untested virtual learning replaced the typical classroom, and colleges scrambled to keep students enrolled and on track toward graduation. 

Admissions was thrown into pandemonium as the upheaval ensued. School hours were shortened, extra-curricula events were shelved, pupils struggled with Zoom overload, the College Board SAT/ACT testing was canceled, and AP exams were administered on the web. Many of the traditional application criteria were eliminated.

Enrollment continues to drop

College enrollment plummeted from 17.9 million students in the fall of 2019 to 17.5 million one year later.

We’re looking at a decline of 3.5% percent or 603,000 students, seven times worse than the reduction a year earlier, according to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The drop exacerbated a problem that has been brewing since 2011 when enrollment reached its US peak of 20 million students. Since then, the number of students has been falling, and it does not seem like academic institutions have hit bottom yet.

How can schools boost enrollment?  

Given the grim landscape, what steps can colleges take to increase enrollment in the short and long term?

Higher education institutions changed their admissions process dramatically. In the past, they encouraged students to visit their campus. With schools shut down, they created virtual tours. The first wave of such options was cumbersome and did not meet all the needs of students and their families. So, how can schools improve their presentations?

  • Be clear the admission office is still operating.
  • Make the admission inquiry, tour, and process pages simple to understand and navigate.
  • Ensure that commonly searched items, such as campus visitation policies, are prominently displayed.
  • Finally, assign staff to consistently monitor each channel that students and their families may use. 

Standardized testing lost its luster

Because of the upheaval, many colleges made taking standardized tests optional for a few reasons. Students had trouble taking the tests because most had been conducted in person, and the testing agencies did not have enough time to pivot and offer students remote options.

Moving forward, test-optional policies have been adopted by many public and private colleges. The entire California University system, the nation’s largest, as well as Amherst College, College of William and Mary, Dartmouth, and Harvard no longer require those test scores. In fact…

more than 1,600 accredited colleges and universities have made standardized tests optional for 2021 admissions, according to the National Center for Open and Fair Testing

More than 1,600 accredited colleges and universities have made standardized tests optional for 2021 admissions, according to the National Center for Open and Fair Testing

Source: National Center for Open and Fair Testing

How many students should a school admit?

College admissions staff across the nation have been in a quandary determining how many freshmen and upperclassmen to admit since their long-lasting enrollment management algorithms were built for a non-pandemic world. As a result, they are tinkering with new metrics and trying to be like Goldilocks, not admitting too many or too few students and minimizing the number of open beds and classroom slots. 

Admission officers can focus on select market sectors because the fall 2020 enrollment decline was distributed unevenly. Undergraduate students accounted for the drop, with a 4.9%, or 727,000 students, reduction, according to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

With social distancing and virtual classes becoming so common, many traditional students postponed their collegiate experience. Traditional college-age students (age 18-24) declined the most, so, the incoming student population is skewing older, and academic institutions need to adjust.

Because of the pandemic, many professionals found themselves out of work and decided to get a degree to increase their attractiveness to potential employees.

  • Adult students (25 or older) showed a 2% to 3% gain at public four-year and private nonprofit four-year colleges.
  • Graduate enrollment jumped by 4.6%, adding more than 124,000 students, according to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Schools need an agile lead management system

With the current chaos continuing into the fall, colleges need tools to empower employees, so they can adapt to the dynamic environment. A lead management system helps them adjust ASAP. Because of recent technical advances, these systems have become more sophisticated and functional. Now, the prospect pool comes from many sources, so these systems support multiple channels including websites, Google Ads, Facebook, and walk-ins.  

With them, a school now captures as many leads as possible, but managing a large volume of potential candidates and their data can be cumbersome. Schools do not want to lose a potential fit if their information is mishandled. They must map their complete journey from capturing to closure. So, the system needs to:

  • Scale as student inquiries increase
  • Provide data to interested parties throughout the school
  • Distribute leads within team members without any lead leakage
  • Proactively manage the application journey with targeted communications

Lead management systems enable schools to manage their personnel more effectively. >> Learn more about optimizing processes here.

Information is distributed to agents based on student location and courses they are interested in. The best-fit agents are assigned leads, based on criteria, like seniority and performance. Leads are parceled out to ensure the agents aren’t assigned more leads than they handle without compromising call quality. 

Schools are struggling to attract students. They are making changes to adjust to these tumultuous times. To be successful, they must engage with prospective students by offering them relevant information, intervene at the right time, and create a sense of delight rather than frustration as students decide where they are going next.

The ultimate goal of every salesperson is to make that sale. 

It is the only factor that decides if all their hard work has paid off.

It’s not easy either. It requires you to listen to your prospects, understand their pain points, overcome objections, and explain all the features and benefits in a way that helps them accept your product or service.

More than 36% of salespeople say that closing is one of the most difficult parts of their job.

most concerning sales challenges statistics

No doubt, sales reps are under a lot of pressure when it comes to closing a sale. But if they know what to expect, and prepare accordingly, it won’t be that challenging.

Here are some tried and tested techniques to help you prepare and easily seal the deal.

In this article:

✔️ What is sales closing?
✔️ 15 smart techniques to close a sale
✔️ 5 Things to avoid while closing sales
✔️ 5 Best practices that can help you close more deals

What do you mean by closing a sale?

While the term “closing a sale” sounds emotionless and distant, it is in fact a hugely emotional part of the sales process – for both parties involved.

  • For the sales rep, you’re getting a prospect to agree to a deal and sign a contract. You’ve earned their trust and they will pay you for it.
  • For the buyer, they are investing in you and your product. They are trusting you with their business.

But, you have to learn how to close.

Why? Because learning and implementing sales closing techniques helps you achieve your sales targets.

Here are 15 best sales closing techniques to help you.

15 Best Sales Closing Techniques

1. The “Now or Never” Technique

This is a traditional sales closing technique that invokes a FOMO or “fear of missing out” amongst customers. It creates a sense of urgency by adding “special, limited-time offers.” The goal is to give your client that extra nudge needed to move to a “yes.”

For example, you can tell them that only a few items are left in stock, and since it is a limited-edition product, they won’t be able to buy it later. You can also use trigger words like “last chance”, “ends soon”, “today only”, “don’t delay”, etc.

Example script:

I should let you know that we have a special [X%] discount available for those who signup within this week. I wouldn’t want you missing out on that.

Why it works

In general, we love having options. That’s why buyers keep evaluating products/vendors to find the best of the best deals.

But at the same time, we’re also wired to avoid losing out on things. And that’s why the now or never technique of closing sales works on the buyers who need just one more reason to make that decision.

The best time to use “the now or never technique”

If you sense that a buyer is convinced but is still delaying signing up, you can use this technique. However, make sure that you’ve established a value before offering a discount.

You can also ask your customers if they’re evaluating your competitors during the discovery call itself. It will help you negotiate with them or offer discounts accordingly.

For instance, LeadSquared CRM makes it easy for sales reps to enter dispositions and refer to them anytime to avoid any confusion later during the selling process.

Demo notes examples

2. The Options Technique

In this sales technique, you offer your client the possible and available options. It prevents the client from giving a binary yes-no response and allows them to explore options.

So, instead of offering a single product or a service, you ask them to choose from multiple options. But limit yourself to 2-3 options.

For example, you can ask the client if they would like a 3-month, 6-month, or 1-year subscription. However, do not ask if they want to buy a subscription or not, which will again invite a binary response.

Example script:

Considering all your requirements, I think these two products would work best for you. Would you like to go with [X] or [Y]?

Why this technique works

People prefer thinking that they chose to buy or not buy; they don’t want to be convinced into anything. By giving them options, in a way, you’re supporting their pride, which may lead to you winning the deal.

The best time to use it

When you see that the buyer is skeptical about usability, you can try this technique. Otherwise, you can also use this sales closing strategy when the buyer’s budget is a constraint. You can offer the basic version (instead of advanced/pro) to help them get started.

Note that people often feel that the more choices they have, the better their chances of finding a deal that will perfectly satisfy their needs. However, the more options they have, the less likely they are to make a decision at all.

That’s why, while using this technique, don’t offer too many options that will only confuse the buyer.

3. The Assumptive Close

This technique is based on the principle of self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, your belief in something leads to it coming true.

Here, the salesperson assumes that their offering matches the buyer’s requirements. So, the next step that remains is talking transactions.

For instance, you can directly ask when they would like to get started with the paperwork.

Example scripts:

When should we get started on implementation?

When should I have this delivered?

Do you want to go with [X tier] or [Y tier]? Send me [X financial information], and I’ll get the paperwork ready now.

To whose name should I make the invoice? Do you want [upgrade] with this, too?

Why the assumptive close technique works

The assumptive close technique gives two choices to the buyer –  believe you or distrust you. But because of your/your brand’s reputation, they’re more likely to believe you. It prevents the client from thinking about the reasons why they should not get the product.

The best time to use this sales closing technique

If you think that your product/service is exactly what the client is looking for, you can apply this technique.

4. Giving a Discount

Discounts are the age-old trick for closing sales. Good deeds do not go unnoticed. Giving a discount will surely give your buyers one more reason to say yes.

Discounts can be of various types. For instance, free shipping, bonus, cashbacks, vouchers, etc.

Example scripts:

If you commit today, I can get you an additional [X%] discount.

If you sign up today, you can take priority in the implementation queue.

Why it works

Everyone likes freebies, which is why this technique works. In fact, 93% of shoppers use a coupon or discount code all year round.

benefits of discounting statistics

The best time to use this technique

If you can achieve your revenue targets while preserving your profit margins, use this technique.

Sometimes brands also use the discounting technique to capture a market share.

However, make sure you have (or get) the approvals before offering the discounts. Otherwise, refusing the offer later will create a bad brand impression.

5. Being Inoffensive

Some clients can be difficult to handle as they do not want to give up control. They stay stubborn with their “no,” but you can move that no to a “yes” with the right set of questions.

By being inoffensive (despite all the friction), you can guide them into signing the deal.

Follow this approach while being polite throughout.

  1. Reiterate their pain points
  2. Suggest that you have solved these challenges for a similar client.
  3. Show the results your clients have achieved with your service.
  4. Ask them if you can go ahead with the deal.

It will make the client rethink why they’re saying no. And because you’re being polite and helpful throughout, they may consider your offering.

Example script:

As you can see, our [product/solution] is the right fit for your [problems/challenges]. And that’s how [other clients] got over that hurdle. I recommend you do the same, and you’ll always be glad you did. So, shall we go ahead and get you signed up?

Why it works

People tend to subconsciously decide what to do before figuring out why they want to do it.

This sales closing technique makes them recall their goals/challenges, how your offering fits into the picture, and that there’s no reason not to go for it.

The best time to use this technique

If you could see that the deal is on the verge of going cold for no good reason, apply this strategy.

Being inoffensive helps you in one more way. You can get feedback about how you can tune your product or service to meet the demands of this set of customers.

6. The Sharp Angle Close

The Sharp Angle Close is also known as the “If I – Will You Close” technique.

This technique is applicable for clients who want to say “yes,” but on a condition. Usually, this condition is not a part of the deal.

For example, the client asks for an extra five percent reduction on interest rates for the house payment. This discount may not be a part of the deal, but you can close the deal by asking for something else in return.

You can say that you will provide this offer only if the customer agrees to finalize the purchase today. This method allows the prospect to feel like they won the deal. It also gets you a sale.

Example scripts:

If we give [freebie], would that convince you to sign the contract today?

If you sign the contract today, I can guarantee we can do [special request the buyer asked for]. How does that sound?

Why it works

It is a win-win situation for both clients and salespeople. While clients get an additional discount, sales reps get closer to achieving their quarterly (or monthly) revenue targets.

The best time to use it

Salespeople use this technique mostly during quarter ends – when they have to close their revenue/sales targets.

7. The Backward Close Technique

Salespeople usually ask for referrals at the end of the sales process or when they receive a positive NPS.

In contrast, in the backward close technique, you ask for a referral beforehand – to increase their interest in your offering.

To make the most of this technique, offer a gift/reward in exchange for their reference.

Example scripts:

I hope you’re happy with our [solution/product/services]. Do you know anyone else in your network who could benefit from this solution? And to express our gratitude, we would like to offer you [reward/referral bonus]

Recently, we’ve launched a referral program in which we’re offering incentives to our referral partners. 
[Reward details]
I invite you to share your referrals who can benefit from our [product/solution/service].

Why it works

The customer (whom you’ve asked for a referral) feels good being an altruist or simply enjoys the reward. Thus, in a way, fostering your relationship with them.

Also, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. So, when you approach a buyer from a referral vs. yourself, you’ll have a better chance of winning the deal.

There are more reasons to use this technique.

benefits of referral programs - statistics

The best time to use the backward close technique

You can use the backward closing technique when you sense that the buyer is not paying attention to you. It will help you gain back their interest by changing the flow of conversation.

8. The Needs Close

In this technique, you consult the client about how much they can save or how much ROI they will get by partnering with you. It is an easy way to show that your product has value for them.

Example scripts:

If we implement by [X date], I estimate you can start seeing ROI by [Y date]. That means we’d need to close by [X date]. Is that enough time for you to make a decision?

I know you said you need to have a solution in place by [date]. Working backward from that day and factoring in implementation and training time, it looks like we’d need to have a signed contract by [date] to meet that deadline. Can you commit to that signing date?

Why it works

The needs close technique works because you present the quantifiable values to the buyer.

The best time to use the needs close technique

When you see that your product or service directly addresses some of the major pain points of the prospect, but they aren’t sure how they’ll benefit from your product, use this technique.

However, don’t assume. Let the client state their needs. Once you have that list, check off the ones that your product/service can help with.

9. The 70/30 Rule

The 70/30 rule states how much the healthy balance of conversation should be. The customer should do 70% of the talking while the salesperson should do the rest.

Listening is the key to making good sales. It helps you understand the pain points of the customer.

According to Gong, the highest converting talk-to-listen ratio on B2B sales calls is approximately 43:57.

What helps in closing sales - listening vs. pitching

Although the 70/30 rule is not quite a closing technique, it can help you pick the right one.

Also, note that closes are phrased as questions and not statements. For instance, sentences that start with “I’d like to” or “Maybe, we can” aren’t closes. But questions that start with “Are you,” “Can you,” or “Will you” are. So be wise in the wordings you choose.

10. The “Ask for Opinions” close

In this technique, the sales rep asks the prospect about their opinion about the product. Probing for opinions is an effective way to sway the client towards a yes. Moreover, it can also be a great way to discover issues in the product or the service.

For example, you can ask them what they think about an insurance policy they have been looking at. Asking about opinions makes your client feel invested in the brand.

Example script:

On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to purchase our [product/service]?

[Answer from prospect]

(If the score is close to 10)
That’s great. Would you mind sharing what’s preventing you from giving it a perfect 10?

(If the score is very low)
That’s disappointing. Would you mind sharing some inputs on where our [product/service] seems to be lacking?

Listen to what your prospect thinks about your offering. If there’s any misunderstanding regarding features/solutions, clarify that.

Otherwise, if everything else checks out, but the score is still too low, understand that your product/service may not meet their requirements. If the score is good, propose the values that they get from your offering and other solutions that can resolve their problem as a whole.

Why this technique works

People like to share their opinions. When you use this strategy while closing sales, the buyer feels they’re a part of the decision-making process. They believe that you’re not hard selling. Instead, you’re keen on benefiting them more. In short, Affirmation is the driving force in this closing technique.

The best time to use this technique

You can use this technique in almost all scenarios. It helps you build rapport with the buyer.

11. The Question Close

In this technique, you try to uncover the client’s objections and create solutions for them. It builds upon the lead qualification process, where you try to gauge the opportunity to make a sale.

You can ask questions like, “Now that you have seen this property, does it solve all the requirements you have for your home?” If it is a yes, then you can move to close the sale. If it is a no, then you can ask how your solution fails to solve the challenges.

Example script:

Did I answer everything you wanted to know? Do tell me if you have any other questions.
No?
Okay, great. Welcome aboard. I know you’re going to enjoy this as much as my other clients do.
So, how would you like to pay for this today?

Why this technique works

This technique works because it directs the buyer towards a purchase while keeping their needs and preferences in focus.

The best time to use it

Use this technique when you want to address objections, but you also want to get a commitment.

12. The Objection Solicitation

In this technique, you ask questions that bring out any objections your client may have. Here, the salesperson asks very specific questions regarding the product. It helps the prospect to openly talk about the issues they may have with the product.

Example script:

Let me answer this for you. [Handle objection]
I hope this helps. Do let me know if there’s any other concern. I’ll be happy to discuss.

Or

[Name], do let me know the reason why we shouldn’t proceed with this deal. If there’s anything I could do to help you decide, I’ll be happy to do so.

Why it works

Both – buyers and sellers seek trust in the partnership. They tend to appreciate each other’s capabilities, understand each other’s businesses, and believe that their partners will stick to the commitments they make.

The objection solicitation technique promotes open communication (for anything or everything that might concern the partnership in the future), which is a must for building long-term relationships.

The best time to use it

When a buyer presents objections, it means they’re interested in your product/service. However, they need some clarifications.

A pro tip: Respond to objections with questions. Top-performing reps often do this.

How do top performers respond to objections

Note, this technique is also helpful for customers who have stalled the purchase process because of apprehension regarding the product.

13. The Ben Franklin Close

The concept behind Ben Franklin Close is to make a pros and cons list of your offering with the client and help them understand the benefits while considering their priorities and preferences.

There are four steps to Ben Franklin sales closing technique:

  1. Present the idea of making a pros-and-cons list.
  2. Let the client come up with a list of pros and cons. Offer guidance wherever required.
  3. Highlight other valuable pros they might not have considered.
  4. Ask thoughtful closing questions.

Example script:

I understand you might want to give this some more thought. And given how important this decision is, I understand where you’re coming from. Still, you must understand whether the benefits of this [offering] outweigh the cons. Can we put together a comparison of those together to help you make a rational decision?

[Carry on the discussion based on points 2 and 3]

I hope we’ve considered all major obstacles. Is there any other reason not to proceed with this deal?

Why this technique works

By letting buyers evaluate the pros and cons themselves, you eliminate their reasons for not buying the product.

Plus, the Ben Franklin close technique acts as a need vs. want checklist. If your offering covers all (or most of) their needs, you have a good chance of making a sale.

The best time to use it

When the negotiation is not going in your favor, use this technique to reverse the course. You can also use this technique when the deal appears to be going south.

However, make sure that the pros outweigh the cons. As the client will make a decision based on which list is longer.

14. The Impending Event

This closing technique gives customers a hard deadline to make their decisions. You can reference policy changes or upcoming regulatory changes beyond your control that may prevent the customer from getting the current offer.

For instance, you can offer additional discounts, features, or services, flexibility in contract terms, and more.

But make sure your client gets approval from legal, accounting, and other departments to sign the deal by the said period. Otherwise, you would be making an unnecessary sacrifice for sale.

Example scripts:

This offer expires on [date]. Can I get a commitment from you today itself?

I know [resolving the problem] is a really big priority for your team. But I’m worried we won’t be able to offer [product/service] at this price because of [an impending event]. You would not want to miss this chance, and I hope you decide by [date]. I’ll keep the paperwork ready meanwhile.

Why it works

Time constraints make people decide faster. The impending event technique makes use of this aspect of human psychology. By giving a tight deadline, it increases the chances of closing a sale.

When should you use this technique?

Salespeople generally use this technique during new product/feature launches. It helps them make sales and, at the same time, test the market-readiness to use that product.

Alternatively, this technique can be used when the buyer is delaying the contract for no viable reason.

15. The Summary Close

The Summary close is a common technique where you list how the product or service will benefit your prospect before you close the sale.

It is helpful for longer sales processes. Often, multiple departments will work on a single sale. So, the prospect will appreciate a summary and will even move closer to a yes reply.

Example script:

Now that we have seen our [product/solution] covers your [challenges], I hope you’re ready to move forward. I can send over the contract right now. Does that sound good?

Why it works

This technique works because it helps buyers visualize what they are buying and how it will serve their needs.

The best time to use this technique

You can use the summary close technique when you’re sure that the prospect understands the benefits you offer. Also, make sure that you’ve successfully answered objections before asking for a close.

Sounds easy, right?

Not so fast. Even though you now know how to close, there’s still a few mistakes we’ve seen sales reps make (ourselves included).

5 Mistakes to Avoid While Closing a Sale

Here are some of the basic principles that you should know before you apply any of these sales closing techniques.

Think of them as principles on what salespeople should never do.

1. Do not have poor communication etiquette. It includes chewing gum on calls, having background noise, or not speaking clearly. These can severely hurt the chances of closing a sale.

2. Do not jump to conclusions. If a prospect is unsure, it means that they have not decided yet. It does not translate to a yes or no. You can use the sales closing technique to move them to a yes, but do not assume.

3. Do not say you know something when you do not. If you are unsure about the aspect of the product or service you are selling, you can always check and let them know. Customers appreciate honesty.

4. Do not be defensive. This behavior is seen when it comes to pricing. Defending any aspect of the product/service may be a red flag for the prospect. A better approach is to highlight the values they get from your offering. You can also give logical reasons on why different customers choose different options.

5. Do not be negative. There will be rejections and objections while closing sales. That is why people have come up with different closing techniques. Be persistent and leave the door open for prospects to return.

Finally, here’s 5 practical tips you can use to help you close more deals, faster.

Sales Closing Best Practices

  1. Always target based on possibilities. Your chance of closing a sale increases when you pick the right prospects. Use CRM to understand buyer’s intent, use the appropriate closing technique, and your numbers will go up drastically.
Manage lead opportunities at one place

2. Always prepare. Sales reps who make it look easy, are actually well prepared. Always check the client’s website, their LinkedIn profile, and other public profiles before you approach them.

3. Always Listen. Remember the 70/30 rule. You should spend 70% of the time listening to the prospect. It will help you understand their pain points and even gather valuable feedback.

4. Always be honest and ask for what you want. Be transparent about pricing and be truthful with any bad news. Also, share your intentions with the prospect up front. Ask for a sales appointment.

5. Always follow up. Assess your meetings with a follow-up communication such as a short phone call or email. Identify where you are doing poorly and keep improving your techniques.

Sales closing techniques are the important items in your arsenal. However, knowing how and when to use them is even more important. As you progress your career in sales, you may even develop your methods.

In Conclusion

In your sales career, you’ll come across a lot of different situations and clients. You cannot (and should not) follow a one shoe fits all approach. Knowing different techniques and strategies to make a sale is crucial.

But there’s one more thing that you must know – how to work more efficiently.

Probably, you’ll not be closing sales daily. Some days you’ll be waiting for a revert on a proposal, while on other days, you’ll be negotiating.

So, how will you track multiple leads in your sales pipeline?

A simple solution, trusted by several leading organizations like BYJU’S, Allstate, and more, is LeadSquared CRM.

Its SmartViews feature helps you keep a tab on all ongoing activities, tasks due, lead stages, and more in a distraction-free manner. The following gif illustrates this.

Smart Views - how sales reps can see only the leads assigned to them

To see this feature in action and what else you can achieve with LeadSquared,

The importance of your website cannot be overstated. It’s where you:

  • Connect with your community
  • Provide students information they need to enjoy a satisfying college experience
  • Offer content to engage alumni

Above all, your website is bound to be the first place prospective students and their families turn to when considering which schools to apply to.

Considering the demographic you target, it’s hard to deny your website has to meet higher standards than most businesses. An overwhelming majority of your incoming students are bound to be digital natives, which means they have the highest expectations and the shortest attention spans.

The homepage of The Modern College of Design is too cool for words.
It starts visitors off with a flashy montage of students at work creating all kinds of designs.

A post by Cardinal Digital Marketing claims students look to universities as a progressive place to advance their career into the future and the public looks to universities as thought leaders.

The author writes, “A shabby website makes it seem like you’re stuck in the past,” and goes on to say, “Universities have to keep up a thriving image or risk getting a reputation for sub-par standards.”

Is it time to redesign your website?

You pour all kinds of resources into pulling prospects into your website. You might be throwing good money after bad if visitors have anything less than a great experience. If you haven’t revisited the core elements of your site in three or more years, it’s time to ask yourself:

  1. Does the website lack a modern, appealing look?
  2. Have you recently rebranded?
  3. Is some of the content outdated or inconsistent?
  4. Is it hard to navigate?
  5. Is it difficult to update content?
  6. Do your metrics indicate lackluster performance?
  7. It is mobile-first?
  8. Does the site meet accessibility requirements?

If you were forced to answer “yes” to one or more of the first six questions, or “no” to the final two, it’s time to revisit, revise, and revive your school’s website. The best practices that follow should help make the effort as valuable as possible.

Create a plan and secure your budget

The making of your new website is going to call for a bevy of resources, which are likely to include multiple vendors, tools, and assets. You’ll need to do your due diligence, understand the costs, and present them to those who’ll sign the checks. Following are tips to consider for the planning process:

  • Conduct a competitive analysis—Dig into the websites of colleges you compete with and assess how they perform on search engines. Demonstrating how the competition does better than your school can be a powerful form of inspiration.
  • Gather feedback on the existing site—Conduct focus groups, surveys, interviews, or other forms of research to document what kind of experience students and other constituents have with your current site. The problems you’ll need to address should surface quickly.
  • Get your plan together—Your plan should include:
    • Clearly defined goals with associated metrics
    • Roles and responsibilities for internal and external members of the website redesign team
    • A practical schedule, with milestones, to complete the project
    • An approval process
    • A detailed plan for the information architecture of the website
    • Essential assets you’ll need to brand the site and a style guide, if possible
    • A content plan
    • Launch and training plans for those that will maintain the site
    • Justification for your choice of vendors and tools
    • All project costs

The creative process begins with a map

Successful journeys rely on the use of a map to get from the starting point to the ultimate destination. Websites do too. So, before you get into processes such as writing and design, it’s critically important to create a logical sitemap—or what site planners often call “information architecture.”

Information architecture (IA) is the process of organizing a website into a logical structure so visitors can quickly flow through to the content they seek. Your content should be organized by topic and importance, with context in mind.

The sitemap is a blueprint for your website, says eCity, who offers the example above.

A sitemap is a diagram that visualizes the structure of a website and defines its taxonomy by grouping related content together. Sitemaps reveal what goes where and how the pages are connected.

Design your sitemap based on the most essential users your website will serve:

  • Prospective students generally are looking for an overview of your school aiming to understand its location, majors, application processes, fees, and financing options. Digging deeper, they’ll seek to learn more about various programs, extracurricular activities, graduation rates, job placement, and more.
  • Current students and faculty visit the website for quick access to information regarding community programs, calendar, and events. Of course, they’ll also be logging into their student and faculty portals.
  • Alumni may come to the site for career networking opportunities, important campus dates, or to make donations.

Additional user groups might include parents, high school advisors, community members, the media, and more.

Your website should provide an easy-to-navigate guide to everything your college offers. It should assist visitors in finding what they need quickly. Ultimately, its interface will include a main menu, possibly drop-down menus, and a search function.

Alverno College does an excellent job organizing and presenting the content visitors are most likely to seek via two navigation bars and clearly labeled buttons.

A messaging strategy is also key to your website planning

Unquestionably, the website must serve the needs of the users we’ve identified above, but it also must support your objectives.

After establishing and documenting clear objectives, ask yourself if you’ve locked down messaging strategies to support them. Ask yourself if the school’s messages to all audiences can reflect a central theme and be expressed in a consistent voice. Finally, explore how you’re communicating offsite, such as in marketing campaigns, to determine if your messaging has the continuity it needs.

A university needs to present many voices in chorus in their media experience, combining messages from the dean and faculty, then professors and facilitators, right down to the student ambassadors and alumni.

~ Alex Mebrillo, Cardinal Digital Marketing
Tricoci University - effective branding

Beauty School Tricoci University establishes a highly branded look and feel and consistent messaging across many web pages that offer multiple programs at a sizable list of campuses.

Tips for creating effective website content

There’s no one or right way to create effective website content and much of what I can offer will have to be the topic of another article. But let’s tackle some of the basics here and now.

Audit what you have

Be it on your website, blog, on social platforms, or in print, you already have content. However, you’re creating something new now.

Will that mean starting over? Editing? Retaining and republishing what works? Is some content too old or irrelevant? Does some contain highly relevant information but is presented in a boring or less useful way? Older content might be off-brand. Is yours?

Make a concerted effort to audit every relevant resource, make informed decisions regarding these questions, and take your results and plug them in where appropriate.

Get the writing right

Chances are producing a comprehensive, persuasive, and elegant website will require the services of more than a single writer. You may or may not have professional copywriters, subject matter experts, bloggers, contributions from the PR department, faculty contributors, and more. Clearly, you face a tough challenge here. Some tips:

  • Budget for professionals wherever possible. Don’t be frugal with the most important thing you’re going to put on your website.
  • Establish a style guide that writers inside and out must abide by.
  • For the sake of quality, continuity, and brand voice, have an editor through which all content flows.
  • Assume your online readers are skimming. “Chunk” content with subheadlines, short paragraphs, lists, and captions. Budget for ample white space on the page. Clutter kills.
  • Chunk the pages even further with photos, illustrations, infographics, embedded video and social media posts.

Use great visuals

Your website should be populated with exciting, original, high-quality visual content. There’s no rule that says you can’t use stock photography in places, but be careful. A plethora of generic, phony, or cliché images is going to turn off your visitors.

  • Hire professional photographers.
  • Shoot real people doing what they do on your campus and in your programs.
  • Only publish images you own the rights to.
  • Encourage students and faculty to create content and publish it selectively.
  • Keep your visuals on-brand.
  • Publish videos—and keep them brief

Eastwick College creates short videos and features them in the “programs” section of their site.
Some have been viewed over 100K times.

Create beautiful pages

In an effort to talk strategy and avoid the rabbit hole that is an end-all lesson on website design, I’ll offer basic tips:

  • Again, budget for professionals to handle the site’s design and development.
  • Declutter. College websites are generally packed with information and every department wants a piece of the homepage. Resist the urge to take the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach or you’ll risk driving visitors to your competitors’ sites or bouncing them back to Google.
  • Keep the lean and clean idea in mind for your site’s navigation. Yes, you’ll have a diverse set of users, and yes, you’ll have a ton of content. Work with your design team to make navigation simple and intuitive with consistent visual cues, elegant navigation bars, and the various tricks of the trade such as sidebars, footers, and in-page navigational elements.
  • Think beyond responsive; think mobile. Gen Z loves their smartphones. The mobile experience needs to be thought-through and every bit as surfable as the desktop version of your site. It also needs to serve the content fast and effectively.

Gene Juaraz Academy offers an elegant footer that looks good on mobile and delivers a convenient mechanism to locate content.

Cover your bases

According to Chuck Bankoff, the director of web services for Kreative Webworks, there are six core pages all (or most) educational institutions must have:

  • A homepage that presents your most important messages and guides visitors to the content they seek
  • An about page where visitors gather information about your organization and its values
  • An academics page detailing the education paths you provide
  • A faculty and staff page that offers details about the key people in your organization
  • An admissions page featuring all the information (and links) prospective students need to move forward with the process
  • A contact page that provides the various ways potential enrollees can get in touch.

Instill trust on every page possible

You may or may not know the term “social proof,” often used by digital marketers and placed in the “persuasion” file. Social proof is based on a proven psychological concept: people are more likely to engage in action if others are doing it (or endorse it).

So, to provide social proof is to present content such as testimonials, reviews, success stories, insights and/or images from influencers, and statistics. Create it. Encourage students and faculty to create it too. And put it in your prospective students’ digital paths as they look for assurance your school is an ideal choice.

Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology collects and presents many student testimonials.

Asher College invites graduates to create short videos about their college experience. The videos are collected in a playlist on their YouTube channel and embedded on the homepage and various pages across the site.

Prompt visitors to take the next step with calls to action

Your college website should not only motivate prospective students to take action, but it should also make it easy and compelling. Address this challenge with call-to-action buttons that are easy to easy to find and understand.  

Your call-to-action might prompt an interested student to fill out a form to download a document, place a phone call to the admissions office, or schedule a campus tour. Understand exactly what you deem a success for the page you’re presenting and present your call-to-action with specific statements (not “learn more” or “click here”) that begin with verbs.

The Modern College of Design presents clear calls-to-action all across their website.

Comply with accessibility regulations

When you hear the term ADA compliance, chances are you think of wheelchair ramps, handicap parking spaces or bathrooms. But, have you thought about how disabled persons use the Internet?

The passage above comes from a page on GetADAAccessible.com, which points out:

American With Disabilities Act applies to all public places and private education. Specific sections apply to schools, so in the making of your site be aware of how the law applies to your college.

For more information, read Roadmap to Web Accessibility in Higher Education, a detailed post about how universities and colleges must upgrade their websites, online courses, and network resources to meet modern web accessibility standards.

Do you now know all you need?

You probably don’t. Completely covering the topic of best practices for web design could include additional advice for:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Launching a new website
  • Measuring the performance of your website
  • And more

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was the University of Rome’s website. So, we’ll call this post a wrap.

Takeaway all you can and stay tuned for deeper dives into some of these topics. If you go away with one simple idea, let it be this:

You have stiff competition. A great website is a competitive advantage for recruitment, retention, and advocacy. And for the digital native, a mediocre website may be a deal-breaker.

The EdTech market has seen phenomenal growth in the last year, anticipating an opportunity of $10.4 Bn by 2025. Fundings for EdTech startups have also increased 4X to $1.7 Bn since 2019. With so much competition, what’s your EdTech selling strategy?

Rohitashwa Choudhary, SVP, School OS, Toppr, and Sudipta Mukherjee, VP, Sales, LeadSquared discuss how the sales process changed for them, new sales and marketing initiatives, and strategies to win the market.

​Discussion Points:

  1. The current state of EdTech sales, post-Covid
  2. Brand building & marketing in EdTech 
  3. Most effective ways to streamline sales processes and key metrics to track
  4. Identifying and scaling sales in new markets and opportunities    
  5. Building and setting up teams for success     
  6. Technological advancements in delivering sales effectiveness for EdTech startups

Speakers



Rohitashwa Choudhary ​- Toppr

Rohitashwa Choudhary ​
SVP – School OS, Toppr

Rohitashwa Choudhary is a graduate from IIT Bombay, and has worked across the FMCG and education sector over the last 13 years. In his recent seven years at Toppr, he has headed multiple functions such as sales and operations with a key focus on revenue, growth, and profitability. An entrepreneur at heart, Rohitashwa loves to bring new ideas to life and shape those ideas into profitable business verticals. He is currently working on Toppr School OS, where his team has helped 250+ schools in re-imagining how technology can be implemented in classrooms.


Sudipta Mukherjee - LeadSquared

Sudipta Mukherjee
VP – Sales, LeadSquared

Sudipta is a business leader with global experience and network. He is a sales and business development professional skilled in large enterprise deals, networking, negotiation, consultative sales leadership, inside sales, business planning, and relationship management. His business focus includes market data, information, news, SaaS, data & analytics, IoT, and Inside Sales As A Service (ISaaS). Prior to LeadSquared, Sudipta was a part of the leadership team at the American Association of Inside Sales Professional (AA-ISP), a not-for-profit association with a mission to support inside sales professionals globally.


You might think college students embraced remote online learning simply because they had to amidst the chaos of the last two years. You’d be wrong.

No doubt, COVID-19 changed the game by driving an unprecedented dependence on online learning.

An impressive study by EducationDynamics, aimed to determine the preferences of college students who now study online, uncovered many interesting revelations. Many of the results of the study are likely to surprise you, and possibly, inspire you to revisit your school’s approach to remote learning going forward.  

Online learning is destined to increase steadily in the years ahead. Let’s take a look at where students stand and what matters to them now.

Is online learning inferior?

If we look to the online learners that took part in the survey, the answer is a definitive no. 75% of students state online study is better than, or as good as, classroom study.

Let’s look at where students stand on the cost. Again, the question is, “Is online education less valuable?” Again, the answer is a definitive no. 74% claim online education is worth the cost.

Check out this out…

Continuing to study online is not a deal-breaker for most.

What do online students study?

Though the list of subjects is long, the majority of online students study the following fields:

  • Business
  • IT
  • Health and medicine

If your college offers degrees for the subjects above and aims to grow its enrollment, you’ll want to examine how your online programs are marketed.

In the report, EducationDynamics offers the following in its conclusion:

“More and more, prospective online students are being attracted to short-term credentials (e.g., certificates and licensure programs and stackable certificates.) For those who have limited resources and need job skills quickly, these certificate and licensing programs are the routes to meeting career objectives in a timely basis.”

What do online students want?

EducationDynamics called this section of their study “career motivations” and the winners were:

  • Start a new career to earn more money
  • Start a new career more aligned with my interests
  • Get my first professional/salaried job

Which services matter most?

For this question, the list of choices was long, and the responses were varied. However, if you work in admissions, you’ll want to note the top three answers were:

  • Career planning and placement
  • Financial aid advising
  • Access to faculty to academic advising

Another question in the study focused on the career services online students use. The top five are:

  • Self-assessments (see below)
  • Working with a career advisor
  • Job search assistance
  • Job search website maintained by the school
  • Resume creation
It appears self-assessments are in demand. Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology has responded by offering its prospects a “readiness quiz.”

Any offer takeaway: offer robust job-related services.

Do serious students study with smartphones?

They do.

The majority of online students handle a variety of course-related activities with mobile devices. Here’s what they do most:

  • Check grades, assignments and schedules
  • Communicate with professors
  • Read content
  • Watch content
  • Research
  • Communicate with other students

Clearly, it’s important your LMS and content is mobile-friendly.

Does every student want to stay home?

No, no, and absolutely not! Your take-away from EducationDynamics shouldn’t be the classroom is soon to become a relic of the past.

As you see here, while more than one-third love learning online, the majority of students now prefer hybrid study. Don’t shut your campus down.

It’s quite clear those studying online prefer the option of having access to recorded lectures.

Which factors affect enrollment?

This is clearly an all-important data set for schools looking to expand.

Look away for a second and try to guess what factors most into the student’s decision…

And the winner is the cost of tuition and fees. It’s close though:

  • Costs – 26%
  • Programs that match my career goals – 23%
  • Availability of online programs – 20% (Interesting!)
  • Length of time to complete my studies – 19%
  • Availability of flexible formats – 18%
  • Reputation of the college or program – 18%
  • Professional accreditation of my program – 16%

Does the data above give you ideas? I hope so.

What influences online students most?

The line between “what factors affect” (above) and “most influential” (below) is a bit cloudy, but you’ll find this second list interesting:

The winner is online reviews, followed closely by rankings, and then, by opionions of friends. All three fit comfortably in what marketers call “social proof” and word-of-mouth, so if you’re creating content and social media for your college you’ll definitely want to pay heed to these influential factors.

What else are we looking at here?

EducationDynamic’s research report is crammed with valuable data. Here are some additional data points that stood out:

  • 69% of online students claim COVID-19 did not impact their studies.
  • 63% of online students are female.
  • 70% of online students are enrolled in a full-time program.
  • 45% of online students are employed full-time and 21% part-time.
  • 63% of online students live within 50 miles of their school.
  • 40% of online students are reimbursed by their employers.

And finally…

The current market of fully online students is 20%. The number is projected to grow at a steady pace. Hopefully, this post (and the research it cites) will give you valuable insights into satisfying the ever-expanding demand for remote learning.