Imagine picking up 2 competing product catalogs with 2 different messages on the cover.
The first one says: "Let us tell you how much our products cost."
The other one says: "Let us TEACH you the most effective ways to be attractive to the opposite sex."
If you automatically decide you'll read the second one and throw the other into the trash, then you would've proven one of the best business strategies to be true: In order to become a successful seller, you have to be a teacher, too.
Good Morning, Clients! ----------------------
Whether you sell a product or provide a service, it pays to view yourself in the role of "teacher" rather than "haggler" when dealing with existing & potential clients.
"Teachers" maintain an attitude of sincerely wanting to help people achieve the best results possible, and clients invariably pick up on this attitude.
And although "teaching clients" may take a little more time than cutting to the chase and directly talking about specs & prices, it actually brings in 3 MAJOR BENEFITS that affect your business in the longer term:
* Benefit 1: More Clients Will Trust You
Teaching clients about the ins and outs of your product and industry gives them the impression that you're an authority in your field -- and this could be the most advantageous position you could ever have.
Being an authority means (in your clients' minds) that you'll provide them with the best service, that you'll be worth every penny of your price, and that you'll make an excellent recommendation to their associates & friends.
In the business world this is called "trust," and once you earn that, a satisfying relationship ALWAYS follows.
* Benefit 2: More Clients Will Approach You
In the process of educating clients, you might encounter people who ask questions that aren't directly related to your products, but still have a lot to do with your industry in general.
Although this signals that the client is still "shopping for services," don't ignore this important opportunity.
The fact that your prospect chose to ask YOU instead of someone else already puts you in a unique position to demonstrate how you (and your products) can become even more worthy of their trust -- and ultimately of their purchases & investments.
* Benefit 3: Potential Clients Become COMMITTED Clients
Because by the time they are ready to use your services, all your teaching would have prepared them enough that they now know EXACTLY what they want and need.
These are no longer the kind of prospects who would ask you to "fax them a quote and set an appointment to discuss it."
Instead, these are the ones who say "this is what we need, tell us how much, so we can write you the check."
There's less talking and more buying -- all because you chose to be "the teacher that sells."
So how do you become an effective "teacher" to your clients, while running your business successfully on the web? Here are 4 of the MOST EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES that you can use today:
1) Articles On your Website
You've seen them before, and you'll see them over and over again. Mainly because they actually WORK!
Time and time again, business owners who regularly post "free articles" on their sites report getting clients from as far as Timbuktu, and encounter opportunities that lead to Japanese businessmen sending them checks without meeting them face to face.
This is because those regular articles on their websites have taught their prospects all they needed to know about the person (AND the business), so by the time they wrote their emails they were more than ready to commit.
So whether you decide to cover "Tips & Advice," "News & Updates," or "Lessons & Inspiration" in your own free articles, just make sure that you DO post them on your site on a regular basis... because they're the surest way towards pre-selling success.
2) Booklets & Ebooks
Once you have a good enough number of articles (both on your site and off it), you can decide to compile them all into a print book or an ebook -- both of which you can use for even greater profits!
Use these books as value add-ons when clients make a purchase, or as prizes for contests you hold on your site.
Better yet, if you feel that the information contained in your books are valuable enough for your target market -- AND if you have ceased to archive the same articles on your website for free -- then you can even sell them as stand alone products by themselves.
This not only increases your sources of revenue; it enhances your reputation as an industry leader, too.
3) Mini Courses
Another possible offshoot from your web articles would be "mini courses" -- short lessons & seminar sessions that you can give both for a fee and for free.
You can administer these courses via autoresponder, through a mailing list, via teleconferencing, or even through a live seminar audience.
When prepared adequately and delivered successfully, these courses can become another source for additional profit -- and another way to pre-sell potential clients into trusting and hiring YOU.
4) Guest Appearances (On Print, Radio & TV)
Now that you have all these books, articles, and seminars under your belt -- or even if you don't have them yet -- another way to get free publicity is to make yourself available for interviews and guest appearances, particularly in publications & programs that effectively reach your target market.
Announce your willingness & availability to talk about your expertise through your letter heads, calling cards, mailing lists, and press releases.
Even if you get only one high profile media exposure out of all this it would still be enough -- and it wouldn't have cost you an additional cent!
A Final Word ------------
One word of advice though, from one entrepreneur-teacher to another: Remember to keep on learning!
Knowing the things that you know NOW should never make you feel complacent and think that it's enough. Good teachers know this; good businessmen and salespeople should know it, too.
So keep yourself updated with the latest trends in your industry, attend seminars & classes given by other industry leaders, and keep on reading & keep on asking.
Not only will these help you keep your client relationships stronger.
They will also improve EVERYTHING about the way you do your business, and strengthen your position as a brand & industry leader.
Tatiana is the publisher of: http://www.TheFortunesEzine.com, the FortunesEzineWeekly at http://www.TakeYourFortune.com, and owner of the traffic-solution slam advertising sites http://www.Guaranteed-Hits.com and http://www.Guaranteed-Hits.net