The savvy vendor knows calling schools to sell products is just a waste of time. It is virtually impossible to get through to principals. There is a buffer of staff who act as gatekeepers for access to principals. The call goes to the secretary in the main office first, she screens it and forwards it to the school business manager, if any, and he kills the call. It goes no further.

A persistent seller might try another route of emailing the principal directly. That seldom works. On average, a principal receives 100-150 emails daily. She pays close attention to the ones from Central Office, the superintendent, and the Boro Field Support Service Center. Then she hones in on internal messages from the secretary, the custodian, business manager, assistant principals, and faculty. Next, she focuses on emails from outsiders, such as parents, students, and partnerships with outside organizations. Finally, she scans other emails and mostly ignores solicitations.

One vendor I know sent a mass email to 1,600 principals and received responses from four, less than 1%.

The bad news first, it is very difficult to reach principals.  The good news is that the gatekeepers can become valuable allies.  When dealing with competing vendors, many times the decision is made by the school business managers. This site is about engaging the folks who are actually creating purchase orders.