Educate Not Sell - Janice B Gordon


The economic downturn has led companies to become ever leaner, hence this has left all employees and decision makers with less budget, time, experience, and market intelligence with which to make important decisions on behalf of their company and customers.

You are in business to perform, you cannot perform unless you and everyone in your business sales your products and service, your brand and company, your personalities and their unique value.

Given these parameters, what do buyers and customers want?

Customers and buyers want you to provide a level of insight that will make them personally and professionally more effective. People who can do this become the trusted advisors, and this relationship that is key to the sales process. So essentially, selling is sharing knowledge, insights about what is relevant to your customer.

All buyers are looking for people who can share their perspective on for example; upcoming regulations, technology trends, industry movements, and any other developments that affect the customers business. The people that teach their customers something relevant and new to provide insight, get faster responses and greater access.  This educational process is a whole company initiative and cultural attitude; whole operations must be aligned to get the customer what they want and need.

Customer do not care what sets you or your company apart from your competitors, they want to know what will set them and their business apart and they want to feel it from you, personally in the experience you and your company delivers. Customers want to know that you see them as different, so you must communicate and demonstrate this in the experience you give.

We all love to talk about ourselves and you will increase the buyer’s engagement, when the subject is about what interests them. Your chance of winning their favour and the business will also increase, if you are genuinely interested in them and their needs.

Customers want to know why information is relevant to them and their business issues. Without the translation, it’s just one more set generic data, and they already have information overload. You must adapt the standard prospecting and relationship building approach to focus on each buyer and customer’s environment and unique needs.

Buyers do 60-70% of research before accepting your call, having researched solutions and create a concise short-list of top solutions first, if you are not on their list you do not get through. The first job of marketing and sales is to get on the short-list. Buyers have already collected comparative pricing information on you and your competitors. So, when you finally get through to the buyer, they do not want to hear your sales pitch of features or benefits. In the buyer’s mind, the only thing that’s left to discuss are the negotiables. Trust me if the buyer could do without you at this stage they would!

What do they want to hear from you?

Matt Dixon’s team at the Corporate Executive Board now part of Gartner’s research, asking buyers how loyal they were to the suppliers they chose, surmised: “Today’s buyers expect a specific kind of sales experience. It requires a sales conversation where the rep provides a unique and valuable perspective. The rep helps the customer navigate through alternatives and landmines.”

Although buyers wants are not unique:

  • Save money
  • Make money
  • Avoid risk
  • Engage employees
  • Steal market share.

More than half of what drives customer loyalty is determined by how you sell it, not what you sell. If you want more information a bestselling book, “The Challenger Sale.” is a good starting point. Hence sharing relevant bespoke information that educate and informs is a critical attribute to building the sales relationship. How and what your customer wants to see, and your buyer wants to hear from you?

  1. Customers and buyers want to hear about solutions for their problems not features of your products and services.
  2. They want to hear from you how they can satisfy their own bespoke needs.
  3. Customers want to hear about the help that you, and your company will give them to further their wants and needs or solve their problem.
  4. Customers want to hear you as a human being, not as a business or automated machine.
  5. Buyers want to hear about the added value and return on investment when they buy your products and services.
  6. Buyers want to see other people who you and your business have helped in the past.
  7. Buyer want the unique idea, the one thing that they couldn’t learn on their own.
  8. Both buyers and customer want to be challenged to think differently, and say “I never thought about it that way.”
  9. Essentially all buyers want to be intellectually engagement to learn more, too often, they hear want they have heard a hundred times before.

Be surprising, be challenging and treat your buyers and customers to an experience that they will not expect, teach do not sell!

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