Is “Educational Selling” Spoiling Your Close Rate?

Free Consultation TrapFor more than a decade, professional sales trainer David H. Sandler, creator of the Sandler Sales System and the Sandler Sales Institute, has been warning sales people not to fall into the “free consultant” trap.

He warns that if you don’t control the interaction and close the deal, you could end up educating your prospect, only to have a competitor come behind you can close the deal.

But has the information age changed all this?

Are the consumers of the new economy more likely to respond to a “softer,” educational sale?

Do sales people need to abandon the aggressive closing techniques that used to put food on their tables?

Selling in the New Economy: New Rules vs Old Rules

By now, you’ve surely heard of the “New Rules” of selling. It’s become a catch phrase over the past 10 years. Thousands of sales and marketing experts have come out of the woodwork, ranting and raving about new rules and new metrics for measuring results and about how the old rules of marketing are dead.

But is this really true?

Smart sales people are starting to wonder.

Sure, the information age has given consumers more options. But are we to assume that consumers have actually become smarter, more discerning and more patient….just because they have more information to analyze?

Are we to assume that people no longer make prompt buying decisions, or (God forbid), buy on impulse?

Not likely.

It’s more likely that the “new rules” of sales and marketing are COSTING you and your sales team in lost sales.

Here’s why…

New Economy, Same Old Consumers

Anyone who has studied history knows that human nature hasn’t changed much over the past few thousand years.

People still buy from merchants who they trust and who give them a reason to make a decision right away. The New Economy hasn’t changed that. If anything, today’s hyper-saturated marketplace has given consumers more opportunities to buy things that they don’t really need and even to buy them on impulse.

The decision making cycle hasn’t changed much in B2B transactions either. It’s still complicated and, in the end, the deal still goes to the sales person who can control the pace of the negotiation instead of getting lost in the gridlock of corporate decision making.

Having the heart of a good and patient teacher might be useful during some phases of the sales cycle.  But it can also lead you or your reps to invest their time and energy into romancing the prospect, only to watch them crawl into bed with a competitor who knew how to close the deal.

Education will always have its place in the sales process. But don’t forget that selling is about selling. The only “rules” that matter are the rules that, in the end, can be measured in profits.