There is a lot of overhyped free education being offered all over the web. More times than not, the “education” is stupidly basic, unrealistic, an exaggerated story of success, or, worse yet, really just a sales pitch. This is not what I am talking about when I say that you should educate your prospects.
So what am I talking about? Thanks for asking! When I say that your new sales presentation should focus on educating your prospects, I mean one thing, and one thing only: they should walk away from your meeting, online presentation, website, etc. with a better understanding of how your products or services will help.
The old school sales pitch
In the old days, back in 2005, we were taught that a sales pitch should list the features and benefits, show how we’re different than our competition, offer a call-to-action, and ask for the sale. This was sales training 101 for decades. It’s 2015 now and the whole world is different than it was 10 years ago. Our prospects and customers have different expectations, needs, and tolerance levels for the same old “here’s why you should buy” tactics. Frankly, most people don’t care about all that stuff mentioned above anymore (if they ever really did), and the quickest way you can make a prospect runaway is to “ask for the sale.”
The new modern era sales pitch
Today, an effective sales pitch is not really a sales pitch at all. What people want to know is how what you have to offer will benefit them. This is not because of some super ego, ultra-selfish personality change. No, your prospects are simply busy. They want you to cut to the chase and get rid of the smoke and mirrors. What they really want is easy access to information, then time to make a non-pressured decision.
A great example of this was when I was car shopping a few months ago. I did not end up buying, but there is still a valuable lesson here. The salesperson I worked with was great. He did not spend one second trying to sell me a car. Instead, he spent a lot of time educating me on my options. We talked price, gas mileage, features, resale value, consumer and safety ratings, even his own personal experience with different makes and models. He showed me the different options and never tried to steer me in one direction or another. He was there to make me an educated buyer and, once I am ready to purchase, that is where I will go. Instead of trying to sell me, he raised my confidence level by helping me understand the options. He gave me the info, and then stepped back to let the education help me make a decision once I am ready.
It is no secret that people don’t like to be sold, yet we keep trying to sell to them. Stop it. Instead, learn how to build confident consumers that are educated and ready to buy on their terms with all the relevant information in hand. Basically, it comes down to this: don’t be a salesman. Be an expert consultant in your field or industry. And no, this is not just wordplay – there is a profound difference between the two characters.