Imagine you run a furniture store.
And there are twenty-two other furniture stores in your city.
You've got just one problem.
You're just another furniture store.
Another furniture store, which seems similar to the next store, and the next, and the next.
Now don't get me wrong
You know your store is different.
You know your furniture is crafted from exquisite wood.
You know your furniture has simple, classy designs.
But to your customer you're another–yawn–furniture store.
So stop being a furniture store, will ya?
And start being an expert instead.
Let's face it. It doesn't matter whether you sell furniture or project management; are a mobile-mechanic or sell flowers; build websites or draw cartoons. You run into the same darned problem.
The problem of being a commodity
Unless of course, you decide you're pretty sick and tired of being a commodity. And would rather be an expert instead. Perhaps you'd rather be able to charge more for your product or services.
And yes, a waiting list would be reason enough to pop the champagne.
Well, here's what you really need to do
Don't sell furniture.
Don't sell fixing cars.
Don't sell website-building.
Don't sell what you do. Because people don't want what you do. They don't care a hoot about what you do.
Sell them an hour’s worth of knowledge instead
Yes you read right.
Don't sell them furniture: Teach your prospects to detect good furniture from bad.
Don't sell your mobile-mechanic service: Teach them about how simple, everyday tweaks can help avoid a massive car repair bill.
Don't sell them about how you build websites: Teach them about how Google keeps attracting new clients.
You see there's a huge resistance to buying your product or service.
However, there is minimal resistance to someone buying an hour's worth of training.
After all, we all know that we need to upgrade our skills; improve our knowledge. And so as customers, we’re ready to learn something new. Something that makes us smarter, more intelligent.
This is precisely why you need to spend some time training your customers. Precisely why you need to take customers down a pre-determined path.
So let's go down a pre-determined path, shall we?
Here's what the path looks like:
1) There is huge resistance to someone buying your product/service. (Darn, not another product/service—that’s what your customer is thinking).
2) However, there is minimal resistance to someone buying an hour/day training (we're all taught we have to keep learning).
3) The training/workshop opens their eyes to a system that's ‘different'. (And thus creates a ‘problem’).
4) The problem is that they're doing stuff the old, irritating way, and getting unpredictable results—if they get results at all. (Not good)
5) Your next step is for you to help the customer implement that training into reality (ooh, now you’re the person who helps implement the newly-gained knowledge).
6) If you’re in services, you consult at your ‘expert’ prices. If you’re sell products, you give your expert advice. (Though frankly, you can now do both at the same time).
7) Voila, you’re the expert.
But even as you read these words…
You’re wondering if this system isn’t somehow manipulative; somehow insidious.
Well…it depends, you see. It depends on how insidious your mind is.
Because instead of being manipulative, these series of steps actually enable the client to get a better grasp about what they want—instead about you babbling about the great and wonderful features of your service or product.
With training, clients learn more about choosing furniture
Or more about how to avoid huge, and unnecessary car repairs.
Or more about how to get a continuous stream of clients through their website.
And of course, this training stuff is all very fine—if you’re comfortable speaking in front of audiences. But what if you’re the kind that shivers in their Guccis, every time they have to face an audience?
No one said you have to do the soapbox-thing. No one said to stand in front of an audience.
This concept is about the immense power of training. And how training makes you an expert. The concept doesn’t say you have to stand in front of a group of people and speak. You can train customers through a website presentation. Or a well-thought out brochure. Or a teleconference. Or just about any way you can think of.
And the moment you start to train…
Your customer starts listening.
Like magic, your neat little presentation, has transformed you into an oracle of sorts. The prospect no longer sees you as a cheesy snake-oil impresario. But rather, as someone who knows what they’re doing. And more importantly someone who can help the customer make the right decision.
And just like that, you’re not a commodity any more
You’re ‘der experte.’
You tell more. And hence, sell more.
You create revenue sources where none existed.
You create a waiting list of customers that only want to deal with you.
So…can we pop the champagne now?