The concept you are about to learn was borne out of the desire to not be treated like a salesperson. That was the seed of the idea. But now this concept has gone on to spur a best-selling book, revolutionize sales methods for multibillion-dollar conglomerates, as well as catapult one-person army companies to double-digit sales in a single year. It’s called education-based selling. In a sentence: If you teach people something of value, they will meet with you far faster than they would ever meet with you to be sold something. B2B example: As a young man selling advertising, all my competitors would call up the client and say, “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and I’d love to come and talk to you about your advertising needs.” That’s tactical selling. When I was a sales rep, I’d call up and say (paraphrasing for brevity): “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and we’ve done some studies and found out that in your industry, there are five things that make companies fail and five that make them succeed. I’m going to be sharing this information with [name their competitors here], and I wondered if you were interested in seeing this same data.” I not only got more appointments than any of my competitors, but I also got them with higher-level executives. I call this strategic selling. A strategist knows that if you begin all sales interactions by teaching things of value to your prospects, you’ll see that the power shifts in the meeting, giving the advantage to the one doing the teaching. I don’t care what you sell; you’ll find much more receptive and motivated prospects if you are an expert on not just your product or service, but also the market or industry you serve. More examples:
If I sold cosmetics, I’d know about the studies on appearance and how much your appearance impacts your success (unfair but true). Fact: People make 11 judgments about you based just solely upon your appearance, before you even open your mouth. If I sold shoes, I’d know everything about feet and fashion. Fact: There are 214,000 nerve endings in your feet that connect to every organ in your body. This makes your shoes a lot more important than you ever thought. I helped a shoe store chain double in size by getting all their salespeople to be experts far beyond their competitors. I worked with a company that sold alternative therapies to doctors. The company knew about their products, but they didn’t know that the consumer demand for these products had grown from $46 billion to $460 billion over a single decade. This was not just interesting to doctors, but highly motivational. It shifted the power in the meeting.
Steps for you: Look for the things that are going to make your prospect say: “Wow, I didn’t know that.” Another source for this data is a company called Empire Research Group (EmpireResearchGroup.com). They can find you the “wows” that will help you get more appointments and make more sales. Today anyone can do research and become much more educational in nature. Fact: The salesperson who does this will slaughter the one who doesn’t.