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Teaching vs Selling

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Last night I was finished with my teaching and was freeskiing. I jumped on the chair with another instructor because his high school students didn't offer to ride with him. He had just pulled his back and was in enough pain that he couldn't really continue with his lesson. In all fairness, these kids were at the end of a five week lesson series with a different instructor each week. This instructor had not had these students before and had just started the lesson.
Fifteen minutes into the lesson all the kids are demanding to know why I make it so fun and simple and all the other instructors make it so hard. This is always a sticky situation as the students are stoking my ego and at the same time, I am trying to defuse any possible indictments of the system and fellow instructors. You really have to watch what you say in that situation. My answer suprised me.
What I said was, "Every instructor has their own style of teaching. Some instructors teach and some instructors sell. I like to sell you on the idea that this is a fantastic very fun sport and YOU CAN DO IT TOO." I sell it, I don't teach it. More like the Anthony Robbins of skiing. I am after OPENING THEIR MINDS to the idea that skiing need not be complicated and good turns can be had by all. In the bulk of the lesson, I am after a simple breakthrough move that I set up that provides a flow through progression right to fun great skiing.
Selling is building ideas, part entertainment and part education. I guess I am the type of person who wants to be sold to. When I walk into a car dealership, I definitely don't want to be accosted and dictated to. I want to be put at ease, entertained, educated and sold to.
Think of the great experiences that you have had while making the purchase of an item you wanted. What was it about the salesman that made the difference? Isn't that the same quality you are looking for from an instructor in a lesson?
post #2 of 9
Pierre Eh!, you just hit the point of disagreement between SCSA and some of the rest of us.

I am the opposite of you and SCSA. I don't want ANYONE selling me, hard sell or soft sell. I am the type that learns all about the product or service BEFORE shopping, and then does the buying. I am not a fan of "marketing" - there's too much puffery and flexibility involved, and too many phonies out there selling.

From reading your posts in here, I bet your "sales pitch" would be infectious and would work quite well - provided the person to whom you pitch is of a mind to receive the pitch. If I didn't know you and you approached me with the "pitch," I'd most likely engage you in a conversation about skiing and technique while deflecting the sales talk. But I think that ultimately you would convince me to take a lesson with you!

So maybe I'm a reluctant target?! :

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
SCSA doesn't sell he pushes. To me, thats not selling.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 08, 2002 08:31 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #4 of 9
Something I'm always at odds with with ski areas I work for is the selling aspect. I believe a good product should sell itself. I believe word of mouth is the best marketing tool.

I feel like our instructors should be trying to make the students independant of us. The goal is to get them confident and skilled enough on their own that they don't need to take lessons anymore. Of course there is always more to learn (for all of us), and avid skiers will often be avid students, but our goal should be to create strong, happy, independant skiers.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Many people who come to a lesson really don't know for sure what they want. You have got to find out and then sell it to them.
You guys are getting the wrong impression of what I am trying to say. Notice that my definition of sell and teach are close. When I teach, I am not trying to sell more lessons.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 08, 2002 08:30 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
When you say the word teach, most people think of command style which is dictation. When you say the word sell, most people think of pushing product, dictation. When I think of the word teach, I think of dictation, when I hear the word sell, I think of convincing.
post #7 of 9
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I want to be put at ease, entertained, educated and sold to.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Marketing is bringing buyers and sellers together. It is not pushing. It is the middle position between win and win. I think Pierre's four elements are the cornerstones of a good lesson or any type of service.

Furthermore, lessons are in a context, which is the industry. I get free and deeply discounted equipment from manufacturers. This places a burden on me to earn that consideration. I repay the debt by guiding students to equipment and soft goods purchases, the retail stores I work with, and other services such as tuning and bootfitting.

Instructors who are total service providers are going to be more successful, in my experience, because they simplify and help consumers become insiders to the sport.

Word of mouth is powerful promotion, but even WOM needs some kind of public awareness campaign to raise interest, so a person will ask a skiing friend for recommendations.
post #8 of 9
There are a lot of symatics getting thrown around.

I think I understand what Pierre was going for, and I don't think it's what Gonz (or possibly Pierre's students) may have interpreted it to be.

I think (just my thinking) that Pierre is basically telling those guys that he doesn't teach by just telling people what to do, but by convincing them of what they could be able to do, and explaning how to achieve those outcomes.

I think of it more as setting expectations and establishing goals, than selling. But again.... Symantics.

Eh, Pierre?!
post #9 of 9
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pierre eh!:
SCSA doesn't sell he pushes. To me, thats not selling.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes indeed. I now see what you were saying. Sorry to have lumped you with SCSA, Pierre. You deserve better!

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