For many years I taught hundreds of companies how to change their sales paradigm into a marketing paradigm. All of us have experienced an expert salesperson that uses a strategy for “convincing” someone to buy what he/she is selling.
Marketing is a strategy for “educating” a prospect until he makes the decision to buy because he feels he would be an absolute fool if he didn’t buy.
These are very different approaches, and because of the Internet, selling/convincing is far less effective than it was before the Internet. Peer-to-peer validation or disproving a message happens so quickly a sales person doesn’t have a chance to sell like he did before the information boom of the late 90s that has grown to what it is today. Almost everyone has a Facebook or some other chat account. Even my father, who passed away at 83 was looking up everything on search engines on a daily basis until he died. There is a saying, “Amateurs convince, professionals sort.”
I distribute anti-aging products that are only guaranteed to be authentic and backed by science if they are purchased through a bona-fide distributor for the company. My company grew so fast that many got into the business thinking it would be an easy task to distribute the products, and be a “quantum leap” to success and wealth. Sadly, many have found the simple system of marketing to be too slow and mundane and they lost trust in the system – so they quit and had inventory to dump in an effort to recoup some of their costs. This has resulted in products being sold on eBay and Amazon at a reduced price.
What people don’t realize is that what they get outside of direct distribution from a bona-fide distributor does not have the 30-day money back guarantee. I have also discovered several who purchased from one of those discount sellers and didn’t have the same results because they received something different than what is sold directly from a distributor.
Socratic selling or Socratic relationship building inspires confidence in the distributor and trust in the products and the company behind them. Most of my customers who have been using the products for more than 5 months are happy to pay the slightly higher price to maintain their preferred customer discounts and get the guarantees not offered through the discount sales on Amazon and eBay.
I recommend the book entitled, “Socratic Selling” by Kevin Daley to re-train all salespeople how to build confidence in potential buyers that what is being represented can be trusted. By using a marketing drip system to send short but powerful educational messages over time, and then building relationships using the Socratic approach - Building trust and making John Smith prospect/customer feel like you really care about him - Will close more business than any other method. It also builds brand loyalty.