If you’ve ever played the card game Bridge (does anyone play Bridge anymore?), you know a common “tip” is to “Lead with the fourth-best card from your longest and strongest suit.”

It also provides a very interesting perspective on how to classify the remarkable qualities of your school.  Let’s say you have identified four aspects that differentiate your school from every other.  Can you cite 13 examples which support those differentiators?

If that’s a little extensive, let’s just identify your school’s top ten differentiators.  Then, of those, what are the strongest five?  Three?  The number one differentiator?

Remember, the title of this article is “Lead with Your Strengths,” not “Lead with Your Top Differentiator.”  Businesses need to differentiate themselves from the competition, but they don’t go against a competitor with their “trump” card right off the bat.  If the customer is not impressed, and says, “Okay…and what else?” the business then has to provide support of their claims with differentiators that may not be as strong.  So, as in Bridge, lead with the fourth-best perhaps even fifth-best, and work your way up as you encounter potential objections.

Let’s so one of those strengths is a demonstrable academic advantage over your local public school district.  Perhaps your school’s academic achievement levels are an expectation of those parents seeking to enroll their children, but parents of students currently enrolled in the local public school may not be aware of the difference.    You could use this advantage to market your school and eventually increase its enrollment.

If your school is located in close proximity to a public school, and your teachers are willing to stay after school or put in additional online time (and perhaps make a little extra $$ doing it), then consider offer tutoring sessions (for a fee, of course) to local public school students. Perhaps your school offers after-school care, and could extend this benefit to parents of the local public school that does not offer it.  Signage at your school and around your neighborhood could promote the service, and announcements in the bulletins of your school’s supporting parishes and churches could reinforce the message.  Offering this type of targeted (and remarkable) service will give public school parents and students the opportunity to experience your school, which could lead to enrollment conversations.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2005-2020 (Original Publication Date: 9/26/05)