Educating vs. Selling

41985313 - back to school background with books and alarm clock over chalkboard

Educate when you educate.

Sell when you sell.

Don’t confuse the two.

Don’t promise an education and then deliver a sales pitch.

Don’t promise amazing content when they opt-into your list only to deliver something shitty and then bombard them with marketing for your incredible content.

Don’t bait and then switch.

I recall a colleague of mine releasing a new eBook on how to get more clients to say ‘yes’ to your coaching program offers. It was going to be one of the free give-aways in the launch for his sales training program. I read it before agreeing to send it out to my list. It was a sales letter. It wasn’t a book at all.

I recall hosting a colleague for a tele-seminar where he promised to share nuts and bolts content and his presentation was that he seemed to be reading, literally and actually, from his sales letter. He never really delivered on the results he promised. To get that content you have to sign up for his program.

When you do an intro workshop promising education don’t have it be a covert or overt sales pitch for your weekend workshop or coaching program.

Educate when you educate.

Sell when you sell.

There will come a point when it’s time to share what you have to offer. Do it. There’s a moment, and you can learn to know when it is, where the appropriate and respectful thing is to cut to the chase and say, “Here’s the deal. You pay $__ and you get _____.

There’s a point where you can just say to someone, “You know… I think you might really dig this workshop I’m leading. Can I send you the info?

Educate when you educate.

Sell when you sell.

People will trust you more. People will be able to relax into learning from you. They will know that what they are learning from you isn’t a subtle, sophisticated and sneaky attempt to set them up for a purchase. They’ll know you’re not positioning them to buy something from you. Their defences will go down and they’ll be willing to engage in an honest to god human conversation with you.

Most of the people I work with, these conscious, hippie entrepreneurs, are delighted to realize that there’s a moment where you can just say to someone, “Can I pitch you on something? I think this might be a good fit for you.” or “You know, I have no idea if this is a fit, but let me run this past you in case it is because it feels like it might really help on that issue you were just telling me about.”

You can be so direct.

Additional Reading:

Directness and Transparency in Marketing: A Vital Interdependence. – Lynn Serafinn

Mastering the Graceful Art of Directness – Lynn Serafinn

The Real Reason To Do Intro Workshops – Tad Hargrave

Enough With The Crappy Opt-In Bribes – Do This Instead – Bradley Morris

About Tad

  • Thank you Tad for saying this so plain and simple. “Educate when you educate. Sell when you sell. Don’t confuse the two.” Thank you for laying it out like this.

  • Trudy

    If your seminar or webinar is free education but you’ll spend a bit of time (10 minutes at most) at the end “pitching” your course or book or whatever then tell people at the very beginning you’re going to do it. That way they get education AND can leave seminar or webinar at the end when you pitch. — it’s the polite thing to do :-)

  • Andy Freist

    So much yes! It’s always a bummer when a “free” piece of content is not much more than a glorified sales pitch that lacks any substance which can be utilized without buying what they are selling. Even worse when you need to hand over your email for said content.

  • Oh how I needed to read this. Such clear boundaries. I hate all the crap I’ve been taught that feels awful all the time. Thanks.

  • nice!

  • Could you say more about what you’ve been taught? I’m curious to hear.

  • aor

    Thanks Tad! It needs to be said. People get scared & lose sight of what’s in a customer’s’ best interest. A thinly-disguised sell can feel even worse to a potential customer than a hard sell.

  • This is exactly why I have so much respect for you, Tad. Thank you!

  • LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I did not see this response until today. Sorry.

    I’d been taught to pitch no matter what and all the time. Don’t educate without pitching. It felt creepy.

  • Question: I teach public speaking and confidence skills to kids and I am damned good at it. I live in a geographically odd area though and it is so hard to get the word out.
    I have considered going to schools to give workshops- to give the kids 3 solid tips (in a fun way) on how to be more confident and better speakers. Thing is, they are not my clients, the parents are. Is it unethical to send a sales pitch letter home with those kids to let parents know about my amazing program?

  • Not unethical to let parents know but not sure that approach is the most effective. My guess is that the schools themselves might pay to bring you in and your target market might be the principal.