Are Buyers Really Better Educated?

How did you learn what you know? Not facts and figures, not data, but the things your really know and believe. How did you learn what you prefer and why you prefer it?

Did you do deep research? Was it from reading information on the internet? Did you get most of your education through social media?

Right now, you are supposed to believe that your dream clients are completely educated. You are supposed to believe that they are on the internet educating themselves about your industry, perhaps your company, and that they are in possession of the expertise necessary to make you irrelevant. Expertise gained through research made possible by the internet.

Hogwash.

Sure, there are some people in some companies researching their challenges and who might be able to help them, in some industries more than others, as is always the case. But for the most part, there isn’t a lot of evidence of salespeople losing their relevance, mostly because information is not insight, data is not wisdom, and marketing is not caring.

But, let’s explore your experience.

When you call on a client, are they intimately aware of all the reasons that they should change what they are doing now? Do you run across more people who need to change and aren’t aware or resistant to that change? Do you have a point of view about that change that is far different than your dream clients?

Do your prospective clients understand how they need to think about the changes they need to make, the trade-offs they need to consider, and the risks associated with their decisions?

When you are face to face with your dream clients, is most of what they believe and share based on something they read on the internet, or is it mostly based on the experience they have had buying what you sell from someone else—and trying and failing to get the results they really need?

If you sell flat screen televisions and cameras, your customers have done their homework. They have information parity, and in some cases, their knowledge may exceed yours. In complex, strategic, business-to-business sales, your prospective client isn’t likely to know what you know, and they choose partners who are experts in their field so they don’t need to be subject matter experts in every category of product or service they buy.  Assuming that your dream client has hours and hours to research the things they purchase is to underestimate how much work they have to do and just how lean many organizations are now.

Research doesn’t likely account for very much of the education your dream clients have acquired. They’ve acquired much of their education by buying what you sell from the sales organizations that served them before you.

You are here reading a blog post. Think about what you know and believe about sales and selling. Is most of what you believe based on your research, or is most of what you know and believe based on your actual experience?

If you have information parity with your dream client, that is a decision that you have made, and not because your dream clients spend their days researching your category.

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