Use Educational Selling with Every Customer

By Brian Tracy

A major reason that prospects do not buy is because they do not fully understand what you are selling and how they can use and benefit from it. Many salespeople assume that after one sales presentation, the prospect is familiar with the details of the product or service as they are. This can be a big mistake. In educational selling, you take a low-pressure/no-pressure approach. You do not try to influence or persuade the customer in any way.

Show the Customer
In the “show” part of the presentation, explain or demonstrate how your product or service works to achieve a particular result or benefit. Get the prospect involved. Ask him or her to do something, try something out personally, or make calculations to prove your points.

Tell the Customer
In the “tell” part of the educational selling process, explain the features and benefits of your product or service, using stories, statistics, research results, and anecdotes from other satisfied customers. Like a lawyer, “build a case” for what you are selling, presenting evidence in the form of visual aids or written materials that “prove” the quality and usefulness of your product.

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Ask the Customer
In the “ask questions” phase, pause regularly to ask questions and invite feedback on what you have presented so far. One mark of top salespeople is that they keep their prospects involved in the sales conversation by continually requesting comments and opinions as they go along. When you “show, tell, and ask questions,” you position yourself as an educator rather than a salesperson.

Learn your Prospects Needs
The more competent you become at learning your prospect’s real needs, and the better you teach your customer how to get the very most out of what you sell, the more the customer will like you, trust you, and want to do business with you, over and over again.

Action Exercise
Take out a sheet of paper and draw three lines down the page, creating three equal columns. At the top of each column, write the words “Product Feature,” “Product Benefit,” or “Customer Benefit.” List each positive sales feature of your product or service in the first column. In the second column, write the product benefit attached to each product feature. In the third column, define the customer benefit, the answer to the question, What’s in it for me? Practice positioning yourself as a “teacher” with your prospects. Focus your presentation on helping your prospects to understand how helpful your product or service can be, trusting fully that if he or she understands completely, the sale will take place automatically.

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