For many years, the marketing activities within the sales process focused on wining and dining the customers and did very little to educate them. Now, with technology and a lot more sales savvy professionals, the focus is on educating the customers specific to how their needs and wants can be met.
If you truly want to increase sales, your must know how your products or services can help your customer meet their known and unknown needs by addressing the real problems. In many cases, effective fact finding discovers the real problems and not just the symptoms posing as problems.
For example, customer service through poor on time delivery is a perceived problem. The need is timely delivery. However, the businesses' existing policies or procedures or even lack of personnel may be the real problem and is reflected by issues within customer service. By educating your customer, you can demonstrate how your solution can be sustainable and generate a positive return on investment.
Educating your customers does demand more of your time because now you must truly walk in the shoes of your customers and if possible your customers' customers. Until you truly know the customers’ concerns or what some call pains, you cannot provide real answers to address those pains.
Now you must truly move out of your comfort zone and begin to increase your own knowledge. Within my business coaching training practice, I have increased my knowledge specific to a lot of areas that 10 or even 5 years ago I would not have considered such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and effective marketing copy just to name a couple.
Recently in working with a new client, when he mentioned technology in health care, I brought up writing prescriptions through PDA's. He was quite surprised that I even new of this technology less alone understood the potential value from reducing errors in reading prescriptions to saving time.
To educate a customer begins with your own education of the ever changing marketplace. By taking that action, you will increase sales and become that trusted adviser to your clients and potential clients. The added benefit is that you can truly enjoy entertaining your customers when the opportunity presents itself.