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What I learned at an Elementary School - don't need webinars, books ....!

I recently had the pleasure of volunteering for United Way Tampa Bay at an elementary school in Tampa Bay.  The entire school was getting free books …United Way having collected almost ¼ million books last summer, sorted them, cleaned them up and packaged them according to school age.  WOW!


The experience was not unlike getting ready to start talking with prospects!


The ‘librarian’ (I think she has a more modern name now) addressed each class as they came in by telling them to thank United Way of Tampa Bay, which many did very loudly!  Those of us volunteering said “You’re welcome’ as loudly as we could!  Different enthusiasm – we tried! 


That’s the greeting that we look to achieve when we speak to anyone over the phone.


She explained that the books were set out for them to look through. They had the option of getting 3 books to keep!  (The Benefit Statement) and when they were finished with them they could pass them along to family or friends to enjoy.  (A strong closing statement here).    Sure it was free, but they still had to be ‘sold’ on the value of the offer!


The students charged the tables – it was so exciting to see.  What was interesting is how each reacted to the challenge:


  • Some just grabbed based on the cover of the book – they didn’t know the value
  • Some perused the books, read the inside page and put it back to return to it later – that’s the ‘delay’ objection (and they were lucky if it was there when they came back)
  • Some did a quick flick looking for either pictures of comics – unspoken questions
  • Some picked the thickest books they could find – clearly knew what they wanted


Our role, as volunteers, was to help steer them to a book they might be looking for AND we opened a plastic bag so they could put them in and take their books!  


They lined up and left – we waited for the next class!


But, the most special to me was a little girl who was looking for THE BOOK that she and her grandma could read together. She looked and looked and asked questions and finally found just the right book to bring home to her grandma.  She clutched it and didn’t even want to put it in the bag.


There are always lessons to learn if you observe human nature and communicate …doesn’t matter how old you are or they are!


Have a great week and Happy Valentine’s Day!



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