To Make More Profitable Sales, Educate Your Prospects and Clients!

Educating your clients to make them willing to pay the price you put on your product/service, is one task that every business owner should take seriously – especially given the intensity of competition out there in today’s business marketplace.

Think about it for a moment. Toothpaste brands proliferate in the market, and even for those of us who are loyal to certain brands, one cannot deny feeling the “temptation” every now and then to try out some new brand that’s offering something extra or new – such as a special breath cleansing or tooth whitening formula.

Quite often we would have chosen to stick with our favorite brand because of what we know – or think we know – about it. The reality however is that most times what we “know” would be based on what the maker of our chosen brand has told us on the tube or the wrapping, as well as any adverts they may have placed in the media.

The problem however is that every product or service provider uses these kinds of marketing methods mentioned above, and so, there is the danger that it all begins to sound the same, or that we – the buyers – may get so overwhelmed with the mass of information being thrown at us, that we subconsciously stop listening, watching or reading.

That’s why the business owner who wishes to constantly get paid CONSCIOUS purchase making attention by his/her target audience will need to invest quality time and effort into making them PERCEIVE that s/he offers useful EDUCATION that can help them intelligently make choices that truly benefit THEM.

S/he will do this KNOWING that his/her product or service already has the features that will make it get considered by appropriately educated prospects as the RIGHT choice for the price it is offered at.

Three (3) Steps To Educating Prospects, and/or Customers

What follows below is an explanation of steps you can follow, in the process of educating people who fit your target audience profile, towards getting them to do business with you.

Note that the ideas described here can be applied during sales/marketing conversations with individual or group audiences. They can also be applied in developing your sales/advertising and marketing communication (flyers, posters, articles, website copy, ebooks, special reports, bulletins, press releases etc).

At the bottom of each step, I have provided personal examples of how I applied it(i.e. THAT step) in interacting with the owners of a popular radio and TV show, until they hired me to develop/implement a web marketing system for their company.

1. Offer Proof That You Understand Their Needs: You need to spend time THINKING about what makes people feel a need for your type of product or service.

Be sure to identify as many as possible variants of the needs that different people may experience, that will cause them to want your solution. This should not be difficult – since you are a provider of a possible solution!

If you do it right, it will show in your sales/marketing conversations (in physical meetings with them) as well as your written communication – e.g. website copy. This is because you will be able to TALK and WRITE about these identified needs from the perspective of the potential customer. It will boost your chances of convincing prospects and/or clients that you truly understand their needs.

My Example:

As an active listener on their show, I would send SMS messages suggesting that they boost their marketing reach and impact by adopting an Internet website presence.

I did this about 3 times over the course of three months – timing my messages to logically coincide with issues that came up during the live show. Note that I NEVER offered to do it for them – I only told them they needed to do it, so as to achieve MORE than they were doing at the time.

2. Suggest Practical Ways They Can Accurately Assess Similar Products/Services:

People often need to be sure they are getting the best bargain for the money they are spending. That’s why this second step is important. That’s also why it comes BEFORE you tell the prospect or client about YOUR proffered solution (in step 3)!

You see, any person you want to “sell” to is very likely to be more willing to give you a chance, if you do not come across as the typically “pushy” salesman. Do the opposite of what they are used to: tell them HOW to intelligently find the right product/service they need. Then leave them to use the information you have provided to find and CHOOSE you over others.

To do this in a way that adds value to the prospect or client, simply choose a number of key offerings in the market that fall into the same category as your product/service, and identify their strong/weak points with respect to their ability to deliver the solution sought by buyers.

Using your knowledge/insight as an “expert” in the field, explain to the prospective buyer what s/he should look for, in order to be sure of making the right purchase, for the invested money. What is likely to happen AFTER s/he has heard or read your useful guidelines – at the least – is that s/he will come to see you as a source of reliable expert information, that aids prudent decision making.

My Example: One day, they announced they had launched a website. I promptly visited it, and within 15 minutes of looking around, decided to write them an email outlining specific modifications or additions they could make to it, to get better results.

I did this because my examination revealed that too many features were missing from the site – things that could ensure they got optimal results that they needed: RESPONSES from visitors to the site!

Once again, I did NOT offer to do it for them. Instead, I told them to pass my ideas on to their webmaster so s/he could consider my proposals for possible “usefulness” and apply where appropriate.

3. Tell Them How Your Product/Service SOLVES Their Problem:

Your demonstrated insight into their needs (from 1. above), and your willingness to STEP ASIDE and let them consider possible alternatives to YOU(in 2. above), will be your most potent weapon for “selling” yourself successfully to your target audience.

In this step, you will again start by THINKING of what makes your product or service an effective and reliable solution to their need(s). As was the case in step 1, this should not be a problem for you, because you OWN the product – even if you are a reseller, you MUST KNOW enough about how it works to solve the problem your intending buyer wishes to be rid of.

Doing the above advised “thinking” will equip you to TELL your prospect and/or client how your product or service will help him/her. Remember at all times to focus on painting a picture of the desired end in the mind of your listener – or reader. What s/he wants to achieve is what you MUST demonstrate that your product or service can HELP with. Fail to do this, and you are very unlikely to get hired!

My Example:

Some days later, they replied my mail commending me for the good ideas/suggestions, but expressing a desire to meet with me on the possibility of a collaboration to implement them. Now this was what I wanted, but I was keen to be sure they truly knew how I could make a difference for them.

So, when we met, I offered to prepare a detailed web marketing system development proposal they would read, and use, without needing my input. Indeed, after 2 meetings, I suggested they let their own webmaster try using additional ideas (including website resources) I found to do it for them, so they would not have to hire me. (YES, that’s what I did!)

Over two months later, they came back to hire me – with the marketing director stating that apart from the obvious “sense” I made in the web marketing proposal I prepared, what won him over was the selfless manner in which I readily gave up all my own ideas and information to their webmaster, even though I knew it could mean my NOT getting hired, if the latter succeeded!

Summary – Educating Them Influences Their PERCEPTION of YOU, Positively!

The above outlined steps, if carefully applied, will lead the prospective client to PERCEIVE you as the most logical choice over others s/he may be considering. There is nothing better than establishing TRUST and CREDIBILITY in the mind of your intending buyer. The minute people believe you are competent, reliable and honest, they are very likely to readily part with their hard earned money when they need products or services you offer.

And that’s what the ideas I have shared above will help you achieve. It would interest you to know that I have successfully gotten Nigerian clients to pay me handsomely to deliver my very unconventional products/services (e.g. custom spreadsheet software, article writing, website marketing systems development, print-on-demand publishing etc) to them using these same methods.

If I can do it here in Nigeria, then you can too – anywhere you may be, within or outside Nigeria!

PS: This article was first published online on 8th April 2010

[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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