I’ve been researching protein powder shakes. I typically run about 4 miles a few times a week, and I’ve found that I like to have a shake mixed with fruit, vegetables, and nuts after my run. It makes me feel good.
Now I know a LOT of direct selling companies offer these types of shakes. So I decided to ask for information about shakes that people like on my Facebook Profile. Now I kinda knew what I was setting myself up for. But still.
The onslaught began almost immediately. People touting the advantages of the shakes they sell. After an hour there were 63 responses. The instant messages arrived almost as quickly, filling up my inbox at lightning speed.
Yet there were only 1 or 2 people that asked me questions beyond what was my address so they could send me a sample. Why was I interested in shakes? What would I use them for? Did I have any dietary requirements (soy, whey, vegan, etc)?
And to be honest with you, the opinions I valued the most in the thread came from the people that took the time to understand my needs instead of just telling me how great their products were. Because you see, I still have a lot to learn. I don’t really know what my needs are. I don’t know the differences between products. If you want me to understand why your product is great, you need to educate me first in a way that doesn’t feel like a sales pitch.
It’s simple really, and it’s something we know. You might think your one little post on a thread is not a big deal. But when a bunch of people jump all over a simple request, it becomes overwhelming. And it can happen on your company Facebook Page when someone asks for information and lots of people post their links, or elsewhere online or in person.
So the point is to be sensitive, and educate before you try to sell. Pay attention to the entire environment. And be SURE to ask about the needs of the prospect, their knowledge level, and educate as needed before launching into your sales pitch. It’s old advice but it’s still the best advice. I don’t know your product is good for me if you don’t take the time to understand me and my needs first.
When someone asks a question online, one that relates to your product, are you really being helpful? Or are you just a salesperson? Your approach can make all the difference.