Education Sales: How To Increase Sales Conversion Rate

A while back I was enjoying a glass of wine with extended family.

The conversation turned to coffee. Some of the family own a cafe in Mount Maunganui called Tay Street Store, and I was asking a few questions about what they do, and how they’ve been trading since Covid started.

They’ve done comparatively well. Sometimes stress is good for you, right? So I wanted to know what was setting them apart.

They put it down to three key points;

1. Serve good coffee
2. Use local produce
3. Look after your staff.

I wondered out loud why some cafe’s either don’t care about their coffee or don’t know their coffee sucks. Obviously, a ‘good coffee‘ is subjective but we all know places you just don’t go for coffee.

I know nothing about the science of taste buds, but we all have different preferences, right. So what is ‘good coffee’?

This got me thinking about something I read recently from a book on selling called the ‘buying criteria’

‘Customers have choices. When making a purchasing decision, a customer is able to compare a variety of products or services available and evaluate them on their various strengths and weaknesses. The attributes that your customers place the most value on when making a purchasing decision are known as your customers’ key purchasing criteria.’ 

The Two Minutes Noodles Criteria

We buy our products and services based on the criteria important to us. And our criteria changes with our circumstances.

There have been many times in my life when my only criteria was affordability.

We’ve all been through our two-minute noodles phase. When I was younger and broker I ate them daily for lunch for years. Nutritional value, taste, brand, etc.. didn’t matter to me then.

Now that I have a few extra dollars in my bank account, I can consider those other factors. I now place a higher value on nutritional quality and taste, than on price.

If we know how our customers are choosing our products and services, then we can do a much better job of selling to them.

Educational Sales: How To Increase Your Sales Conversion Rate

Not only can we learn why our customers choose to buy from us, but we can educate them on how to make that decision. This leads to more sales to our customers and the people they influence as that information trickles down.

Chet Holmes, author of the ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ calls this educational sales.

The strategy is straightforward.

Learn why your customers buy from you

This will help you gain a much deeper understanding of your customers and positively impact all areas of your business. The better you serve your customers the more sales you’ll make.

Educate them and ‘improve’ their buying criteria

Most of your customers and or potential customers are not expert buyers. I.e. The factors they use to make a purchasing decision are not necessarily in their best interests.

If you help your customers make better buying decisions. You’ll create goodwill, build trust, and establish your business as an authoritative voice on the matter.

If you do this the smart way, you’ll teach them why your business in particular is the best fit for them.

Start By Learning From Your Customers

I’m going to walk you through how I put this into practice at my gym World Fitness.

The first step in our sales process is acquiring a person’s contact information so we can talk to them

When someone visits our website they’ll see our transitional call to action ‘book a free trial’ (below). If they click on that button, they’ll be led to a ‘questionnaire’ that requests their contact information.

Our website could be better, but it does the job. If you want to learn how to create a high converting landing page read here.

When someone completes the questionnaire, we receive their contact information and our gym manager gives them a call to introduce themselves. After the gym manager has established a little rapport they’ll start digging into this person’s buying criteria by leading them through a call script.

How you gather contact information is not important. You just need a process that works.

The key point here is to get an opportunity to talk to your potential customer and learn about how they will choose your product or service.

Here are the questions we’re currently using.

We’ve tried to keep the questions open-ended and not suggestive.

For example, ‘what type of training do you enjoy?’ is going to help us understand the type of equipment and gym services the potential member is looking for


‘Do you have a budget in mind?’ will open up a conversation about how they view price as a criterion. Some people will say the price isn’t an issue, and therefore isn’t part of their buying criteria, while for others, the price will be the only factor.

 •  The art or skill here is weaving these questions into a ‘casual’ conversation. Like a good podcast.

Now You Can Educate Their Buying Criteria

As mentioned, most people aren’t expert buyers. For example, the average person has zero understanding of somatotypes and how this influences the outcomes of their training. For some people, a gym is the last place they should be training, and for others, a gym is the best.

There’s a couple of ways we educate.

Free Content

When people sign-up for a free trial, they’re also added to a mailing list in Mailchimp. As part of a ‘welcome series’ email campaign, we send these people a PDF that teaches them how to choose the right gym for them.

In the PDF we include non-standard advice, information like hidden costs of a gym membership and why convenience is important when trying to create a new fitness habit.

For example, The real cost of a gym membership is not the membership fee. It’s the fuel you need to buy for your commute and the cost of parking.

In-Person training

The second part of our education process happens when they come in for a free trial.

As we’re a 24/7 gym, anyone who uses the gym needs to complete a health and safety induction. During this induction, we educate people about how they can use our gym to reach their desired outcomes.

The best way to sell anything is to give people what they want. If we can establish ourselves in the purchaser’s mind as the gym that will give them that, they’ll choose us.

Embedding this system into our sales efforts played a part in helping us increase our sales conversion rate from 30% to 60+%.

It also helped us spend less time and resources on the people who aren’t a good fit for our gym. The point here is not to try and sell your product or service to everyone but to find and educate the people who you can best serve.

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