Top 10 Actions to Effective Education Based Marketing That Increases Sales and Reduces Costs By Leanne Hoagland-Smith
Are you engaged in sales based marketing? Is your first thought how can I sell this person? If so, you may wish to change to education based marketing that can quickly increase sales, reduce costs, improve profitability and decrease your sales cycle time. #1: Research your target market - Until you know your target market it is difficult to educate them. Through your marketing action plan, you should be able to determine your most likely potential customers. Review your past customers. Determine their demographics and psychographics. #2: Research current and future market trends - The world is changing at warp speeds from Main Street to across the oceans. Identify current trends and look to any future trends. Subscribe to email alerts and Ezines that can provide you valuable information as to what is happening in the marketplace. #3: Review clients results to determine your value - If you do not request testimonials from your clients, this is a behavior that you need to adopt at once. What you clients say about you and your solutions is how you determine value. When requesting testimonials ask your clients to be specific about the results that you delivered. Usually, they will make mention of them during your conversations. Note them and then ask for written verification of those remarks. #4: Construct a values driven proposition executive marketing summary - Take the time to write an executive marketing summary or positioning paper. This includes current trends, your value driven solutions. From this you should be able to write your current company tag line. For example, mine is "Unlocking Results: Achieving Tomorrow's Solutions Today by Building Results Driven and Ethical Leadership in People, Teams and Organizations. #5: Keep track of all leads received - Given that sales research suggest that almost 50% of all leads at not followed up, establish a process to track all leads and all contacts. There are many tools out in the marketplace and some allow you to access them from wherever you are. Be committed to this process so that you do not allow a single lead to fall through the crack. Sales Coaching Tip: Tracking leads is a sales skill. #6: Engage the lead in facilitated conversation that leads into meaningful dialogue - It is said People buy from people they know and trust. So stop telling and start listening. Be authentic in all encounters. Facilitation means to share information easily. Dialogue means to have a meaningful conversation with the
goal to build a relationship. Focus first on that other person and their needs. Leave your ego at the door. #7: Qualify your lead to determine if you should proceed - Using gentle, probing questions by being an active listener, you can quickly determine if this person has at least 3 of the 4 criteria to be a qualified lead. If he or she has only two, you may need to continue to nurture them until they have that third or fourth criterion. Sales Coaching Tip: The sales skill of asking gentle probing questions should be not confused with open ended questions that sound more like an interrogation. #8: Proceed with qualified lead through further education - Now that you know you have a qualified lead continue to educate them. This action may be integrated within the previous action. #9: Demonstrate your value - In education based marketing, you must demonstrate your value through your behaviors and this includes your sales skills. This may result in you actually spending some of your cold hard cash. Yes, this does violate the sales axiom of never give anything away for free. However with all the free stuff in the marketplace, you need to differentiate yourself, to become that Red Jacket in the Sea of Gray Suits. #10: Let the potential customer Buy You - Recently I heard a great analogy about sales. Imagine you are on one end of a rope and your potential qualified customer is on the other end. After being educated, experiencing your value, she decides to pull you close to her. This works very well with the another analogy about you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make the horse drink. Your challenge is to make the horse thirsty. Education based marketing provides you the mechanism to make your client thirsty for your solutions. They will literally ask you OK, when do you start or Can you have a dozen of those widgets here next week? Education based marketing makes far more logical sense in today's information overloaded society because you are picking out the key pieces of information that your client wants to know and directly tying that to the results that your products or services deliver. If you want to increase sales, reduce marketing costs, improve profitability and decrease sales cycle time, then run do not walk to this truly effective marketing approach.