Instead of the traditional sales cycle of the Sales Rep qualifying the prospect, the tables are turned and the prospect is qualifying YOU! You’ll probably find yourself sweating and stumbling around looking for the fastest way out of the prospects office!
The Sales Process has Changed
Suddenly, that famous line from the Apollo 13 mission “Houston, we have a problem”, takes on new meaning as it relates to your sales process!
How did this happen? One word “click”! Today over 80% of all purchases start with a click. Google, Bing and Yahoo, etc, have taught your prospects that they can find information on any question or subject, in a click.
Educating Your Customers Replaces
Selling Your Customers
The buying process starts with self-education. Your customers turn to the web to find helpful information that teaches them what they should know and consider as they’re making purchasing decisions. Selling today begins with educating your prospects and clients, a very different mindset from years of ingrained traditional sales training and practices.
Standing out from your crowd of competitors requires a different style of thinking and communication.
It starts with a seemingly radical idea, which goes against everything you ever learned about sales. Your goal is not to sell your products and services; your goal is to become the trusted adviser in your area of expertise.
By delivering content that is vital and relevant to your target market, you begin to take on an important role as the source of essential information. Then continue as the source of products and services…when your prospect is ready to buy.
This is a dramatic paradigm shift from the traditional push sales model to one of pull or attract. The key to success starts with a change in mindset and development of essential content that educates prospects and helps sales reps to build better and deeper relationships with clients.
5 Tips to Help You Shift from Selling to Educating Buyers
1) Acknowledge the Discomfort…whether you are a company of 1 or 100, talk about it with colleagues or other key members of your management team. Ask for comments from your Sales team…what is their experience, comfort level with this shift?
2) Make a Commitment to develop and execute a content marketing strategy that connects your business goals to publishing essential and helpful content for your target market.
3) Take an Inventory of Content that you have sitting around on desks, hard drives, audio or video, etc. When you change your view to “sharing what you know to help your business grow,” you’ll be amazed at the volume of resources you have as a starting point. Review for relevancy, updating and repurposing.
4) Think Like a Publisher. Shift from selling products and services to creating relevant content that educates your customers and prospects. Develop an editorial plan and schedule that coincide with events specific to your business such as product launches, seasonal products or services, etc.
5) Develop a Promotion Plan. Don’t forget this step! Developing content and not promoting it is like creating a commercial and not running it on TV. Start by posting your content to your website and then share it via social networks, RSS feeds, industry forums, partner websites, etc.
Educating Your Customers Creates Huge Opportunities
Albert Einstein said it best “In the middle of difficulty lies great opportunity!”
This is the case with the sales shift to educating your prospects to be well-informed buyers. It feels awkward, even a bit unnerving to share information that makes your prospects and customers smarter and more knowledgeable.
But the truth is customers have more control over what they choose to read and who they choose to engage with. So if you’re not out there…you are going to lose. Don’t be left in the dust, this is a huge opportunity to grow your business in ways that were previously unimaginable!