Teaching as a Part of Selling: Be Your Buyer’s Co-Pilot

Over the last year, we’ve witnessed a tremendous increase in the interest of “insight selling”. With this increase, sellers have begun to think of themselves as teachers. This approach makes sense when looking at what a sales person really does. The seller’s job isn’t to bombard the masses with general marketing messages, but rather to explain that their product or service will deliver the best possible value to their customers.

As a seller, if you take an educational approach about how your product and company benefits your prospect, you are more likely to make an immediate sale.  You are also expanding your influence and building your network for future sales opportunities.

If you haven’t already noticed, teaching is a vital part of the sales process.

For many sellers, however, it’s quantity over quality.  They think having 50 average leads is better than having 5 strong leads.  This is sometimes referred to as the “salesman failure syndrome.” A salesman might spend time on activities that fulfill a quota of 50 leads, but how many of those will actually convert into a sale?  Instead, if he invested his time teaching, he would have 5 strong leads and be relatively certain that they would turn into paying customers.

Product knowledge alone is not sufficient.

  • Personalize:  A strong sales pitch should include a personalized message for each prospect. What are they looking for? How does your product or service relate to their daily lives? How will it increase their quality of life or benefit them in the long run?
  • Describe the benefits: Turn the product knowledge into a useful sales discovery session. Think back to the prospects’ wants, needs and pain points. Which product or service feature will help solve their pain points? Teach them how your product or service can benefit them in the long run.
  • Focus:  Many times, salespeople focus their pitches on their own company and product instead of solving the prospects’ pain points. In reality, that doesn’t make any sense if you’re trying to capture someone who has no clue who you are, or what your company does. A prospect doesn’t care about you…until you give them a reason to care. Approach the prospect from his or her point of view, not yours. You will receive far greater reactions and responses if you make it a customized experience.

Be your buyer’s co-pilot.

  • Listen:  Selling is an interactive process that requires give and take between two people. One of the best tricks salespeople use during a sale is the ability to flex between talking and listening. If your potential prospect is a talker, let him or her do the talking. If they aren’t, then it’s your place to step in and drive the conversation. Be the teacher and analyze the situation before making hasty decisions.
  • Analyze:  Use these analyses to start developing a strategic, personalized selling experience. Selling is interactive. You, as the seller, need to understand your product and industry like the back of your hand. However, don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know the answer to something – use it as a chance to show you are human and have things to learn too. It’s impressive to see people admit knowledge gaps but commit to finding out the answer.

On your next sales call, remember that you should be teaching instead of hard selling. Deb Calvert said it perfectly: “Aim to be the ‘guide on the side’ instead of the ‘sage on the stage’ when you are teaching something new to your buyers.”

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