Building Trust with Schools and MATs: Lessons from Stephen Covey’s Emotional Bank Account

by | 28 Jun 23

Alright, let’s kick off this blog post with a bit of a red-faced disclaimer: I’ve had my fair share of hiccups and missteps in my vendor-customer relationships with Schools and MATs over the years. So, let’s get that out in the open straight away. I’m not banging out this blog from some lofty pedestal… it’s just me sharing my thoughts and advice. Thoughts and advice moulded from learning through the inevitable blunders I’ve made along the way.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up Stephen R. Covey’s book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. If you haven’t, I’d say it’s well worth a read.

I won’t delve too much into my personal tales in this blog (there’s plenty, trust me). Instead, I want to focus on how one specific chapter in that book could practically be the best ‘playbook’ for any Salesperson or Customer Success maestro who has the absolute privilege of working in the EdTech market.

The chapter that I’m eager to introduce you to – or jog your memory of if you’re already familiar with the book – is neatly tucked between the chapters discussing Habit 3 and Habit 4. The chapter I’m raving about is titled: ‘Paradigms on Interdependence’.

I can’t put into words how much this chapter resonates with me. The whole book is a gem, but this chapter has truly influenced my thinking and behaviours when working with the brilliant folks I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate with from Schools and MATs.

Table of Contents

Use these links to jump straight to the part of the article that interests you most.

> Why is this relevant to EdTech?
> Introducing the Emotional Bank Account
> Applying the Emotional Bank Account
> Practical Examples
> Techniques To Get You Going

Why is this relevant to EdTech?

Right, let’s dive straight into why the advice in this chapter is a bit of a lifesaver for all you EdTech Salespeople and Customer Success Managers (CSMs).

Let’s face it, we’re all human and prone to a bit of a blunder now and then. Maybe you’ve been late for a meeting – or even double-booked yourself and missed one. Or perhaps you’ve called someone by the wrong name, four times over. These are purely hypothetical scenarios, of course. 😬

And then there are those times when you find yourself holding the bag for a mistake made elsewhere in your organisation. Perhaps there’s been a bug in the product that’s really thrown a spanner in the works for a customer. Or maybe a customer’s been billed twice in the same year. Once again, these are purely anecdotal! Erm.

Well, these things happen, don’t they? But the real question is, how do you bounce back from these mishaps and maintain a healthy relationship with those brilliant customers of yours?

Fear not, Stephen R. Covey has got your back. He’s got the perfect piece of advice wrapped up in a handy metaphor: The Emotional Bank Account. And trust me, this stuff really does the trick!

Introducing the concept of the ‘Emotional Bank Account’

You know how you’ve got a bank account where you pop money in and take it out? Well, Stephen R. Covey had this brilliant idea in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. He likens relationships to an “Emotional Bank Account”.

So, what’s the gist? Every action you take when dealing with another person is like making a deposit or a withdrawal from this emotional account.

When you’re doing things that build trust and increase respect, it’s like you’re making deposits. This could be anything from sticking to your word, showing consistency in your actions, being straight as a die, saying sorry when you’ve messed up, or simply treating others with kindness and respect.

But remember, just as you can make deposits, you can also make withdrawals. If you break promises, give incorrect information, miss an important deadline, forget to carry out your actions, or fail to say sorry when you’ve done something wrong, you’re making withdrawals.

So, what’s the key takeaway? You need to keep your Emotional Bank Account balance healthy! When there’s a healthy balance, your relationship is strong and communication flows easily, even when tricky subjects come up. But if your balance is low, your relationship can become a bit wobbly and communication can get rather sticky.

Covey gives us six actions that can help you make those all-important deposits:

  1. Understanding the Individual: Listen with empathy, validate others’ feelings and perceptions, and show genuine interest.
  2. Attending to the Little Things: Small acts of kindness and courtesy go a long way.
  3. Keeping Commitments: Remember, breaking a promise is a big no-no.
  4. Clarifying Expectations: Clear expectations can prevent misunderstandings.
  5. Showing Personal Integrity: Honesty, fairness, and sticking to your principles are key.
  6. Apologising Sincerely When You Make a Withdrawal: If you mess up, a sincere apology can help, but remember, an insincere one can actually do more harm than good.

By focusing on these actions, you can build stronger, more resilient relationships that lead to better cooperation and success for everyone involved.

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Applying the Emotional Bank Account in EdTech Sales and Customer Success

Now, let’s discuss how Salespeople and Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can apply this concept when working with Schools and MATs. I want to highlight the importance of understanding and really listening to your customer, attending to the little things, keeping commitments, clarifying expectations, showing personal integrity, and apologising sincerely when making a withdrawal from the emotional bank account.

As an EdTech professional, it’s important to remember that every single interaction and conversation you have with your customers has the potential to either make a deposit into their Emotional Bank Account or a withdrawal. For example, you could make a deposit by actively listening to their feedback about your product and taking action on any improvements they suggest. On the other hand, if you fail to keep commitments or provide incorrect information, this will be seen as a withdrawal.

When dealing with Schools and MATs, understanding each individual’s needs and goals is also extremely important when it comes to building trust. By taking the time to get to know your customers and asking questions to gain a better understanding of their unique challenges, expectations, and goals, you can show that you really care about their success.

It’s also important to attend to the little things here. Small acts of kindness and courtesy can go a long way in this regard – sending timely reminders ahead of deadlines, offering to help with onboarding, or even just making sure you’re being polite and professional in all your communications.

Finally, it’s essential that you show personal integrity and apologise sincerely when things don’t go according to plan. Showing that you value the customer’s time and trustworthiness is integral here – particularly if there has been a mistake made on your part.

By using the Emotional Bank Account principle, EdTech Sales and CS teams can build up trust with their customers, maintain strong relationships during difficult times, and even bounce back from mishaps more effectively. This will not only help ensure customer success – it also has the potential to create positive word-of-mouth referrals for your business in the long run.

The trick to making this work is having the right Social Selling tools and methodology in place. By engaging with your customers regularly, and providing them with valuable insights and content that’s tailored to their needs, you can stay top-of-mind for Schools and MATs while further strengthening relationships at scale.

Practical Examples

Let’s look at how these principles can be applied in real-world situations.

For example, let’s say you’re a Salesperson dealing with a MAT that has expressed an interest in your product but is looking to make sure it will fit their individual needs before signing up. In this case, you should take the time to show genuine interest in their goals and challenges, ask relevant questions to gain a better understanding of their requirements and provide them with accurate information about your product.

Similarly, if you’re working with an existing customer that’s having difficulties using your product or has had a bad experience with one of your team members, it’s important to take ownership for the problem and apologise sincerely. This can be done by showing the customer that you understand their frustrations, offering them a resolution and making sure to follow up afterwards to ensure they are satisfied with your response.

The potential outcomes of maintaining such healthy relationships with Schools and MATs can be extremely beneficial for both parties. Not only does it help create an atmosphere of understanding, cooperation and mutual success – it also has the potential to lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals and increased loyalty.

At the end of the day, by understanding and applying these principles, EdTech teams can build trust with their customers and create lasting relationships – even during difficult times.

By following Covey’s advice, you can use your Emotional Bank Account to establish long-lasting loyalty and success with your Schools and MATs. Good luck!

By taking the time to understand Covey’s principles and applying them in daily practice, EdTech professionals can use their Emotional Bank Account to create strong relationships with Schools and MATs.

The Art of Social Selling: Techniques to Help You Get Going

To help scale the application of these principles, EdTech professionals should adopt a Social Selling methodology. Just as the name suggests, Social Selling involves utilising efficient and personalised techniques to engage with customers across multiple digital channels. The only thing about the name I don’t personally like is the word ‘Selling’ – that part implies that it’s solely for Sales people. But the reality is that great methodologies are actually focused on generating more conversations, regardless of whether the purpose of the meeting is for Sales or Customer Success.

A tried-and-trusted Social Selling methodology will help Salespeople and CSMs to ensure they are making deposits into their customers’ Emotional Bank Accounts on a regular basis. This involves using the right tools to identify and nurture relationships, create meaningful conversations with customers, share relevant content at the right time, and get more meetings booked in your calendar.

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Our DLA Ignite Social Selling and Influence course stands apart as the only training and coaching programme endorsed by the prestigious Institute of Sales Professionals.

Social Selling Certification

The only ISP Endorsed Certified Social Selling Programme with DLA Ignite.