A long list of information that goes in one of your prospect's ears and out the other is not the proper way to use facts to sell to them. So, you have to use sales talking points that will educate the buyer. "Reps have transitioned from simply being providers of information to providers of information and educators," says Mike Renahan, writing for HubSpot. "Reps must offer context around the information they share as well as teach prospects about the features and capabilities of what it is they're selling in regards to their specific challenges."
The Power of Talking Points
According to SalesFuel’s Selling to SMBs study, one of the top influencers that got prospects to return a salesperson’s outreach attempt was when the seller shared something of value with them (42% agreed). In addition, decision-makers want to be contacted by salespeople who know their product (59%) and provide relevant ideas to help their business (44%). So, when you educate the buyer, you hit all three sales talking points.
To be a successful salesperson/educator, you need to take the time to set up a detailed sales plan.
Steps to beef them up
Here are a few steps Renahan recommends to beef them all up.
1. Decide What You Want Your Prospect to Learn
In your time spent researching your prospect, you’ve (hopefully) learned why they could use your product or service. Based on that information, if there was one aspect of your product you could educate the buyer on, what would it be? Examples listed by Renahan are a complete understanding of your product’s functions, how your product compares to a competitor’s, and ROI. Find out which part of your product would be most important for your prospect to know immediately and set up a plan to drive that point home through your talking points.
2. Stay Focused
Unless your prospect expresses an interest in or specifically asks for more information on a different part of your product or service, keep the focus on the lesson plan you’ve created. Overloading a prospect with data will only confuse them and divide their attention. According to Renahan, “focusing on a few key concepts with prospects allows them to latch on to crucial ideas regarding how your brand and product or service can support them.” If you want to educate the buyer successfully, you must make your lesson plan concise enough to keep up with and absorb. Alter your sales talking points to reflect this.
3. Leave Time for Questions
Encouraging questions from your clients is a good education tactic for many reasons. One reason is that everyone learns differently, no matter how well you think you’ve used your points. Your prospect may need further clarification about them, and, to fully educate the buyer, you need to make sure the important parts are fully understood. Another reason is sales pitches set up as monologues aren’t as successful as conversations with the client. If you talk to a client, you’re creating a rift between yourself and them. A sale is the beginning of a partnership between your prospect and you as a sales rep. They won't be signing a contract if they don’t feel they can communicate with you openly.
“In addition to increasing sales, organizations should focus on presale educational materials because products are becoming more complex and technologically advanced,” says Emily McLaughlin, writing for Thought Industries. Those aren’t the only benefits of making sure you educate the buyer.
4. Building Trust
Taking the time to educate the buyer on exactly how your product or service works and how it will benefit them shows that you have nothing to hide. Through education and thoughtful talking points, you are proving you care about more than making money. You fully believe a business partnership with your prospect will benefit both of you. The kind of trust you’re building using this method is priceless (or, you know, you could measure it in the amount of all the future sales this potential loyal client will make with you).
5. Establishing Authority
By educating your buyer, you’re doing something that many other salespeople they’ve come in contact with are doing. While your competition is trying to cram as many facts as possible into a single sales pitch, your sales talking points focus on one important aspect at a time to make sure your prospect understands what they would be buying into.
When you share your insider knowledge with a prospect, they’ll feel more comfortable talking with you than with your competition. They’ll know they can come to you with any question they may have, and you’ll be able to not only help them solve their problem, but learn from it for the future. As a result, you become the trusted authority in your field. And who wouldn’t sign a contract with that authority?
6. Filling Knowledge Gaps
As mentioned before, while you educate the buyer with your talking points, they’ll likely have additional questions about your product or service. With your level of engagement with your prospect, they’ll be more comfortable opening up to you with their concerns about your product. Their concerns will likely center on an aspect of the sale you haven’t discussed yet. It will allow you to educate them even more thoroughly, eliminating their doubts and raising the likelihood of landing a sale.