I started my career educating customers on technology products for a major computer manufacturer. My pathway into marketing – from educator to technical marketing to product manager to marketing director and now small business marketing coach and mentor – was a natural progression for someone with an educational background. I have always believed that marketing was a multi-faceted education for your prospects:
- How do they go about finding the right solution to their particular need.
- What do they need to know to get the best solution.
- Who should they be working with to get to where they want to go.
- Why there is value in doing business with you.
Whether I was marketing software products, business to business services or consumer services, marketing is more successful when you focus on educating your prospect rather than selling them your products or services.
SYMS – an educated consumer is our best customer™
SYMS – the Off-Price representative of over 200 authentic designer and brand names, is a company that was ahead of its time with its tag line – an educated consumer is our best customer™. Until recently, many companies didn’t want people knowing details about their products and services. But the folks at SYMS made sure the consumer was educated on their merchandise and understood the value and quality they were getting when they shopped there.
In my experience, business owners who try to push themselves on prospects rarely achieve the results they expected and therefore, are never as successful as they would like. Now in today’s Internet economy where people don’t need to identify themselves to find out who you are, what you do and how you can help them, you must become proficient in educating your audience so they come to you when they are ready to buy. But isn’t that a much more rewarding experience?
I’m thrilled when the phone rings and the person on the other end has found me on the Web and likes what I have to say. And I’m doubly excited when my clients get inbound leads that turn into sales making their jobs a little bit easier.
How do you educate rather than sell?
Educating your prospects is answering your audiences burning questions, through writing, presentations or conversations (both online and offline), and enabling them to visualize the solution to their problems. Once your prospect understands how to solve the problem and the associated benefits of getting an expert to help them, the more likely they will seek help with doing so. Knowledge is only power when it is shared. Your future clients will be attracted to you for your candor and expertise.
Does your business educate your audience so they can decide how they will solve their problem? If not, how can you start to change your marketing so that you attract your prospects and they want to work with you?