Educate the Buyer and You'll Land More Sales
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. You have to 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.”
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). Decision-makers want to be contacted by salespeople who know their product (59%) and provide relevant ideas to help their business (44%). When you educate the buyer, you’re hitting all three of these points.
To be a successful salesperson/educator, you need to take the time to set up a detailed sales plan. Here are a few steps Renahan recommends.
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 full 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 right away and set up a plan to drive that point home so that it is understood completely.
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 successfully educate the buyer, you need to make your lesson plan concise enough to keep up with and absorb.
Leave Time for Questions
Encouraging questions from your clients is a good education tactic for a number of reasons. One reason is that, no matter how well you think you explained something, everyone learns differently. Your prospect may need further clarification into your point and, to fully educate the buyer, you need to make sure the important points are fully understood. Another reason is that sales pitches that are set up as monologues aren’t as successful as conversations with the client. If you talk at a client, you’re creating a rift between yourself and them. A sale is the beginning of a partnership between your prospect and yourself. If they don’t feel as if they can communicate with you openly, they won’t be signing a contract.
“In addition to increasing sales, organizations should focus on presale educational materials because products are becoming more complex and technology advanced,” says Emily McLaughlin, writing for Thought Industries. Those aren’t the only benefits of making sure you educate the buyer.
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, you are proving that you care about more than making money. You fully believe that 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).
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, you’re focusing 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?
Filling Knowledge Gaps
As mentioned before, while you educate the buyer, they’ll likely have additional questions about your product or service. With the level of engagement you’ve established 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 that you haven’t discussed yet and this will give you an opportunity to educate them even more thoroughly, therefore, eliminating their doubts and raising the likelihood of landing a sale.