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Instructional Sales and Marketing
March 15, 2012

Instructional Sales and Marketing

Instructional sales and marketing means telling your customer what to think and do.


There is an adage in sales, "you don't get if you don't ask", and to this I want to add the aspect of telling.

Just yesterday I heard someone say, "it doesn't hurt to ask" and, by the same token, it does not hurt to tell, either. Diana Booher, creator of ValueSelling, says, "we don't tell customers, we ask them!" I would say on top of this, that once you have asked, then what? Well, then, in the Sales and Marketing for "You" way of doing things, then you do tell. I call this going from "you" to "we" marketing; once you have started the process by beginning with your customer, and once you have created the vital interest that fuels your sales process onwards, only then are you allowed to talk about "we", which translates to statements like, "we are the best company at [a, b, c]" and "our products and services have [1, 2, 3] features which, in turn, translates into [x, y, z] benefits for you, Mr. Customer!" (Notice how a "we" statement is still a "you" statement? We will get to this at some point in the future once I have dispensed with these preliminary remarks about Sales and Marketing for "We" versus "You"!)

You should not only feel allowed but obliged to start talking about yourself and what you do once you have dispensed with your own "you" marketing (i.e. talking to your customer!). Whether to talk about yourself ("I" or "we"), or to stick to the basic concept of addressing your customer and talking to them directly in their language ("you"), in either case what is requisite is undestanding the level of INTEREST and AWARENESS that your customer is at. You see, if a customer does not know ANYTHING about you, start with them; this way, you are talking to what they have top of mind ("you")! Afterwards, as you ENGAGE their interest and create an awareness about what you are doing and how you can help them, they will NATURALLY gravitate towards wanting to know more about yourself and what you do. Does that make sense? I have talked more about this and graphed out INTEREST / AWARENESS vs. "WE" / "YOU" on my webiste under "You" (read the article on 'You' Sales and Marketing!).

The difference between asking and telling is that you ask for permission, information and affirmation, whereas when you are telling your customer something, you are simply giving them instructions. These instructions are related to what you want your customer to do next at a specific point in your sales process which, in turn, is predicated on what they know and how interested they are in the benefits and value they are going to recieve by doing business with you. What it all boils down to is creating URGENCY inasmuch and getting your customer to a point in your sales and marketing program where they are COMPELLED to ask you about the next step, then take it! I am a firm believer that a marketing offer or a sales pitch is only worthwhile if it is IRRESISTIBLE to your customer. What I mean is that they simply MUST follow through.

The way to create irresistable sales and marketing offers is to do your homework on what your customers need and want and then positioning yourself accordingly (which, ideally, means that you CREATE your product and service with your customers in mind!). Afterwards, it all boils down to your messaging strategy and what idea you use to communicate your value proposition to your customer. You are trying, in a single concise and precise message, to get across your distinguishing competitive differentiator and to hammer this home in your customers' minds' eye. This message, once again, begins and ends with your customer - "you" - and once you have your attention, what then? What is next is that you need to tell your customer what to do, right?

Use the following kinds of statements in setting up instructional sales and marketing: "Mr. Customer, if I understand correctly, you are having so and so problem which you would like to get figured out right away? Okay, what if I am able to show you how to solve this and there are no problem with moving forward?" What you are trying to get your customer to say is, if you can show them what they want to see, they will do what you want them to do! It is a very simple concept and if they say "yes" to your presell then the chances are pretty good that, when the time comes, they will AUTOMATICALLY move forward and you can basically ASSUME the next step ("Okay, now that that is taken care of, Mr. Customer, let's move onto the next step as we agreed. Sound good?"). It is important to CONTINUOUSLY ask your customer for permission and then follow this up by educating them and then leading them onto the next step. That is all sales and marketing is; what you are trying to do is get around the so-called ITYTWIT syndrome, which stands for, "I thought you though what I thought!" Mixed expectations are the reason that 80% of business that should happen, does not.

Talk to your customer about them in their language and use instructional sales and marketing to ask - permission! -, instruct - educate! - and tell your customers what to do next!


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