Increasing Sales Performance
Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (UTI) is a leading provider of technical training in trades from automotive to welding. Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Phoenix, UTI provides quality education and has seen over 250,000 graduates across 15 campuses located across Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas. UTI’s training programs also include Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI), Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI), NASCAR Technical Institute, and MIAT College of Technology.
As Universal Technical Institute continued to grow and provide trained mechanics to fill high demand jobs, the organization wanted to replicate its high performing campuses across all locations. Campus Admissions didn’t have a consistent sales process, and the various locations needed streamlined models for new student admissions to improve conversion rates and increase enrollment.
Over the last several years, UTI undertook four key initiatives.
First, campus admissions underwent a restructure in 2016 and created a National Team. Under the national recruiting model, the Avondale location and MMI-Phoenix operated as the National Admissions Center as well as the CRRT and MMI/MMI Orlando teams. This team’s primary focus is working with students that need to relocate, as those types of students come with a variety of challenges. UTI then developed smaller, local, and regionally focused representatives specialize in dealing with local student population. The shift in the model allowed for greater focus and concentration dealing with local students as well as the unique needs for students having to relocate across the country.
Second, UTI partnered with MindWire to deliver the Customer Focused Selling program, which empowered campus admissions representatives with a true consultative sales process. The Customer Focused Selling (CFS) model broke down the student recruiting model in simplified manner, not only for the admissions reps, but also for their leaders to coach to. CFS broke down the recruiting cycle into opening, investigating, presenting, confirming, and positioning to enhance relationships and build trust. After the training was completed, the leaders created training decks focusing on each component of CFS. and delivered follow up training to their teams over multiple quarters to ensure sustainment. They also added components from CFS to their coaching documents providing the ability to inspect what they expect. This systematic process provided a path to conversion improvement, aligning the adult sales force to a proven, aligned approach, speaking the same language, and having the entire sales force on the same page.
“Customer Focused Selling brought our game as a sales channel to the next level.”
– John Decoteau, VP Military Admissions
Third, in alignment with a third-party consultant investment, UTI leadership delivered a playbook that encompassed a “How-To” for the entire campus admissions rep job responsibilities. This playbook is easily accessible on the rep’s desktop in a simple, efficient, click-through format. The playbook includes not only the “academic” how-to but also has “Pro Tips” and example recordings from high performing reps executing the written tips. UTI’s playbook has helped reps and leaders alike with quick, mini-training sessions to get reps back on track and replicate high performing skills and behaviors across the various teams. There was a dedicated section for each part of the Customer Focused Selling (CFS) model, which delivered live examples for reps to reference at their fingertips. Now sales reps could go to this playbook for self-improvement.
In addition, the playbook provided a proof source for a leader to coach a rep in real time, from high performing examples that aligned with CFS process. This proved to be a critical tool for leaders working with reps as they had data to pinpoint performance breakdown. Leaders replayed tape to show the rep what they were actually doing, asked investigative questions of how the rep thought they could improve based upon CFS training, then played clips of “best in class” CFS example in real world situation by a high performing rep executing similar situation.
Lastly, UTI created a Quality and Transfer model. In this model, the organization assigned lower-propensity inquiries first to the inside sales team (call center), instead of directly to the campus admissions rep, so that the inside sales team could utilize the ATC (attempt to contact) process and then transfer ownership to the appropriate Campus Rep. This resulted in improved conversion rates and allowed campus admissions to work 100+ more leads per rep, per month.
In 2021, Campus Admissions broke sales records and succeeded in an amazing +485 starts to goal, while delivering +1,003 new student starts and 16 out of 20 quarters of growth compared to 1 quarter of growth recorded over the previous seven years. The 23% year over year growth recorded in FY21 for the adult channel was biggest growth recorded in well over a decade for all sales channels in the organization.
By restructuring their admissions team and model, UTI was able to capitalize on the strengths of Campus Admissions reps and their specialties, including student relocations and other unique student scenarios. With Customer Focused Selling, UTI streamlined their sales process and provided a sales cycle model that was easy to follow, implement, and coach to. Lastly, the campus admissions playbook provided the structure and answer key to replicating high performance and creating consistency across for admissions across their various campuses. Overall, these four initiatives have led Universal Technical Institute to improve conversion rates, work more leads, cut down P&L costs, and increase production.
Published September 1st, 2023