You're Not Selling, You're Educating
When I tell my clients that they should position themselves as a teacher to their prospects, there is almost always resistance to the idea.
I can’t educate them, they’ve been doing this for more years than I've been in business and they know way more about their job than I ever will.
While it is true that they have more experience at their job than you ever will, that’s also their limitation. They’re focused on doing the whole job, not the particular problem your product or service solves. It’s impossible to become an expert on one problem of yours when you have 100 problems you need to address every single day. You, on the other hand, are not bound by those constraints. Your product solves a problem and you’re an expert at that problem. Period.
You know everything there is to know about that problem because you meet with people or businesses just like the one you’re meeting with today trying to solve the exact problem they have. And, because you’re lucky enough to not have to deal with 100 problems every day, you are more of an expert on this one problem than they ever could be. You’ve known more people with that problem than they will ever know or ever discuss it with. In fact, you spend all your time with people who need to solve that problem and know how your prospect’s competitors are approaching it. Your prospect usually only has their perspective and you hold the keys to many different approaches to this problem. Think about how valuable that is.
You are a thought leader and there is absolutely nothing wrong with positioning yourself that way.
I think a lot of owners are uncomfortable about this idea because they believe if they challenge their prospect’s assumptions, there could be a negative reaction that sends the deal backwards. The numbers do not back this up and nor does my personal experience with my clients. For every one prospect who does not respond well to being educated (by the way, they were never buying from you anyway), you’ll find the vast majority of prospects will be eager to understand your experience with the problem and open to your feedback on their approach They see the value in your experience. If you can give someone insight into a problem they have in their everyday business, not only will you engage them, but your credibility skyrockets.
Prospects want to buy from smart people and when you give them an educated and fresh perspective on the problem your product solves, it becomes clear that you're the real deal. So, don't be afraid to position yourself as an expert.