Private schools are missing a marketing opportunity


Do you know the difference between cross-selling and upselling?

If not you need to. Because times are tough and many companies - especially ones with expensive products - tend to mess this up big time.

The bottom line: Learn how to cross-sell, and try NOT to up-sell. See below example of a shoe store:

  • Cross-selling: You own a shoe store. You sell me shoes. You also sell bags. You sell me a bag. One customer, two sales, more profit. 

  • Upselling: You own a shoe store. You advertise shoes for $9.99 "and up." I come in and ask for shoes. You tell me you have all kinds of shoes. Maybe I want the $15.99 version, with the rhinestones on the top. I am disgusted and walk out.

Upselling angers the customer. It leaves them feeling cheated. If I'm investing in a house, a car, a vacation - I want everything included in that big-ticket price.

Cross-selling, on the other hand, makes the customer happy. Because once a person discovers a brand they like and trust, they want to go back and buy more things from that same brand. It's like finding a friend. As Brand Autopsy quoted the CEO of Restoration Hardware the other day, "Great brands don't chase customers. Customers chase great brands."

Cross-selling is also vastly undervalued in the marketing community. It is, in fact, the point of branding: You don't want to sell the same product over and over again! Once your name has value, you want to use it to sell a lot of different things.

But because we marketers are so mental and obsessed with "launching" and "winning" rather than simply maintaining and building, we fail to see this.

Here's an excellent example - private school.

Extremely expensive. 

But parents willingly pay for it.

Because they believe that the brand is benefiting their child.

Enough to pay an arm and a leg to keep the child in that school.

Yet private schools focus almost exclusively on tuition. They are focused on getting students, more students, the right students, etc.


Once a private school has a good brand, it should be cross-selling lots of other things, at a premium:

1. Door-to-door transportation

2. Healthy lunch and snack 

3. Parenting workshops

4. Book

5. College counseling

6. Training methodologies that apply to the workplace

7. Retreats for parents and kids

8. Summer camp

9. Private-school-to-college program

10. One-on-one educational coaching

Yet how many schools take advantage of this?

Instead it's all about tuition, and after that, fundraising and donations.

Private schools, like all brands, need to get with the times and cross-sell like crazy.

Acquiring a new customer is hard. Keeping the customer is easier.

Cross-selling the customer is brilliant.

Good luck!