9 years ago
January 6, 2015

5 Effective Ways to Educate Your Sales Prospect

Educating sales prospects can be far more effective than simply selling, especially since educating encourages prospects to sell to themselves.

Rhys Metler

Are you taking a straight selling approach with your sales prospects or do you take the time to educate each sales prospect into saying ‘yes’ to a deal? Educating sales prospects can be far more effective than simply selling, especially since educating encourages prospects to sell to themselves. Make sure that your sales prospect has the information he or she needs to say ‘yes’ by making the effort to educate.

1. Educate Based on What Sets Your Offering Apart

It is not always necessary to educate a sales prospect on the background for your products and services, especially if it is likely that a sales prospect has encountered similar offerings or concepts before. Instead, you can get more sales mileage out of educating on the things that make your offering stand out in its industry. Focus on things like:

  • Demonstrated higher quality compared to previous or competing offerings.
  • Your organization’s commitment to customer service and support, using testimonials or references.
  • Benefits that your offering has that the competition doesn’t, such as stronger or longer service contracts.

2. Educate by Listening and Asking Only the Necessary Questions

Listening to your sales prospect is the best way to find an effective approach to educating your prospect. Start out by taking note of the topics that are most on the mind of your sales prospect. Then, limit your speaking time to asking your sales prospect questions that can help the prospect educate him or herself by leading the prospect into answering his or her own questions. Use phrases like “If this product could increase your line efficiency by X, how much would that save your organization per quarter?”

3. Educate with Information that Supports Decision Making

A sales prospect is most concerned about information that he or she can use as a foundation for making a decision. Many times the features and benefits of an offering are a corollary to this main concern, but not always. Find out early in the process what your sales prospect needs to know to gain the support of his or her organization, and then educate on that information.

4. Educate Using the Right Content at the Right Time

Although your presence in the sales cycle cannot be replaced, you do not have to do all of the educating for your sales prospect. Marketing materials and related collateral can be effective in educating sales prospects if they contain the information that prospects need and are introduced at the right time. If you do not already have marketing materials prepared for different audiences at different points in the sales cycle, encourage your marketing department to prepare materials that can be used to help you educate your sales prospects under a more personalized approach. You can also:

  • Create slideshows to use during presentations or share over e-mail with only the relevant marketing materials included.
  • Use relevant third-party content such as industry white papers to help educate sales prospects.
  • Develop your referral base so that you can use your past clients to help educate your future clients.
  • Send links to case studies showing return on investment, efficiency gains, and other benefits based on hard numbers.

5. Educate By Holding Nothing Back

Sales people often avoid introducing price until well after the sales cycle has begun, and in some cases the sales prospect will not ask for this information until the sales person moves to close. If expectations are misaligned, this can lead to a lost sale. It may be a better approach to educate the sales prospect on all salient aspects of a deal including price before reaching the point of no return. Try introducing pricing sheets and options lists earlier in your sales cycle to educate your sales prospect. If your sales prospect is well qualified, he or she will appreciate that you have been up-front and you have a better chance at closing the sale.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.