I have been read and enjoyed a great book called Death To All Sacred Cows by David Bernstein, Beau Fraser, and Bill Schwab of The Gate Worldwide. It has nothing to do with education, so, of course, I was instantly attracted to it.
In their chapter titled The Sales Force Makes The Sale, they write about the "sacred cow" that it is a great sales force that sells the product.
The authors butcher this sacred cow.
“When great ideas get turned into great products, a strong Sales Force is essential. They can make the difference between never quite catching on and mega-success. But when lousy ideas get turned into lousy products, even the greatest Sales Force on Earth can’t help you.”
What’s this got to do with education you ask? I am glad you asked?
When great lesson planning gets translated into great lessons, a strong teacher is essential. They can make the difference between the student never quite getting it and the lesson being a great success. But when lousy lessons planning gets translated into lousy lessons, even the greatest teacher can’t help you. The lesson is the product, and a great product needs a great sales person, in this case a teacher, to make it a huge success. It's a partnership of well crafted lessons and instructional sequences, and the sales force, the teacher that makes it all go.
But, they also include the other famous "sacred cow" that the product should sell itself.
How does this sad cow meet its end?
“In most instances, consumers do not buy products. They buy benefits. A product is more than the sum of its parts. It needs to solve problems, create opportunities, makes us feel better about ourselves and the world around us. These benefits are not usually obvious to the naked eye.”
In most instances student do not just accept they need to learn what the teacher is teaching. They learn because of the benefits to them. A great lesson is more than the sum of its parts. It needs to investigate, innovate, imagine, explore, experiment, examine, collaborate, create, and connect to the students’ lives. These benefits are not usually obvious to the naked eye, but it is up to the teacher to demonstrate these benefits. You need a great product and a great sales force.
“…the customer still needs to know why they should want what you’re selling. They need to be told what it will do for them.”
Students still need to know why they should want to learn what your teaching. They need to be told, explained, and demonstrated what it will do for them.
“Charles Revson [Founder of Revlon cosmetics] once said, “In the factory, we make cosmetics. In the drugstore, we sell hope”
How good is your sales force? How good is your product?