One of my bigger frustrations is getting form letter emails from companies trying to sell our school district something, particularly something that falls under the category of educational technology. As we head into another school year, I thought I would offer a bit of advice to vendors out there who would like to work with our school district. Excuse me for the form letter, but I know that it is your preferred method of communication.
Dear Educational Technology Salesperson:
Please stop sending post-conference form letters via email to me that tell me that you enjoyed meeting me at a conference. The fact of the matter is that I tend to avoid the exhibit hall and you probably did not meet me at the conference you referenced. I find this type of correspondence disingenuous and am not likely to work with someone who would send it.
Second, stop sending emails asking what we are doing in our district regarding educational technology and what our needs are. A quick Google search will lead you to some information about what we are up to in our district and it would also allow you to recraft impersonal correspondence which is such a turnoff. I know you are trying to ease your burden and craft a message that can be sent to as many school leaders as possible, but do you really get a high response rate to these?
The bottom line for me here is that we look to bring resources into our schools that add value for students and teachers. By sending a form letter to me, you have already wasted my time and shown that you are not going to go the extra mile to build a rapport with me, my staff, or my students. You may not know this yet, but the most important aspect in learning environments is the quality of the relationships that are built. When individuals feel respected and valued, the outcomes tend to be much more positive.
At the end of the day, it is not about your product. It is really about the level of access that we will have to you and your colleagues should we decide to partner with you to support our learning community. Will you be there for us when we need you to help us? While I know you can't play favorites, will we be your most valued customer? Can you at least try to make us feel that way?
You need to put the practice of sending everyone the same message on your "stop-doing list." Otherwise, you will not be hearing back from me.
Best of luck in the 2015-2016 school year! I hope it is successful for both of us.