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One of the frustrations people tell us most is:
“People would buy my product if they understood how much better it is, and how many problems it would save them. But I just can’t seem to get them to understand!”
In our experience, educated customers
Are less price sensitive
Use our products and services better
Get better results
Refer other customers
So, it’s worth the time and money to educate customers (and potential customers!)
The more they understand, the better for you, for them, and for the industry in general.
The problem is that most people equate “education” with “boring lectures.”
So, we have to trick them into being educated. John and I open the bag of tricks in this episode.
Transcript – Educating Customers with Content Marketing
Announcer: 00:00:10 You’re listening to aviation marketing Hangar Flying. The community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. Your hosts, John and Paula Williams, are your sales and marketing test pilots. They take the risks for you and share strategies, relevant examples, hacks, and how to’s. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you won’t miss a thing.
Paula Williams: :00:38 Welcome to aviation marketing Hangar Flying episode number 20, Educating Customers. A lot of times our clients come to us, or people who are perspective clients come to us, and say they just can’t seem to get their customers to understand the value of their product. People would buy their product, it’s a much better product than any of their competitors’, but they just don’t get it.
That can be really, really frustrating.
John Williams: 0:01:03 Which is why we educate customers so that they do get it.
Paula Williams: :01:07 [LAUGH] Exactly, so we’re going to talk about lots of ways to educate customers whether or not they want to be educated [LAUGH] in this session by using content marketing. So I’m Paula Williams.
John Williams: 0:01:16 And I’m John Williams.
Paula Williams: :01:17 And we are ABCI. And ABCI’s mission is.
John Williams: 0:01:21 To help all you ladies and gentlemen out there sell more products and services in the aviation world.
Paula Williams: :01:27 Absolutely, okay, so without education people tend to buy the cheapest or the best known, to them, product. So if you have side by side a Rolex with one price tag and a Casio digital watch with another price tag and people just need to know what time it is and they really haven’t heard of either one, they’re going to go with the cheapest option.
John Williams: 0:01:53 Or whichever cheapest option, there’s probably more than one, and they’ll go with whichever one they’ve heard about
Paula Williams: :02:00 Exactly. In fact, this is an election year and a lot of people talk about name recognition and the value of name recognition in elections. A lot of times voters will vote for, and they’ll tell you in the exit polls, they will vote for the person they have heard of whether or not they actually agree with that person’s point or view or policies or anything else.
Or whether that person is known for something good or bad. We’re not going to get into politics here, but, [LAUGH] but it just shows that name recognition is a really, really powerful thing.
John Williams: 0:02:34 And that’s only one part of educating the customer.
Paula Williams: :02:37 Exactly. So if they don’t know the difference between a Rolex and a Casio and price is their main consideration, they’ll go with the Casio.
Another comparison is if you have a Lexus versus a Pinto. If that person’s primary objective is just getting from point A to point B at the lowest possible cost. And they don’t think about anything like maintenance cost or reliability or anything else, they’re going to go with the Pinto.
Of course a car, like an airplane, has a mission objective. And in this case, it’s just simple, basic transportation. The Pinto is basically best at doing one thing. The Lexus is really built for something besides, or in addition to transportation, and that’s prestige. So, depending on which value you have, an uneducated customer is going to go with the lowest priced option, right?
Okay, so educated customers are more likely to buy your product than an apparently cheaper alternative. They are more committed to your product in the long run. They’re better able to use your product. They get better results from your product. And they’re more likely to refer other people. And this is why we really like, we really love, our older customers.
Customers who have been with us for years and years and years and years because they’ve got the battle scars. They’ve done it the wrong way. They’ve been with us long enough to understand this is the right way. And to really understand our products and services and to use them well and to get great results from them.
And so those are the customers that are the most likely to give us referrals and so on.
John Williams: 0:04:23 The problem with educating customers is that nobody wants to be educated.
Paula Williams: :04:27 [LAUGH]
John Williams: 0:04:27 [LAUGH] I mean, you know, you get out of school, you don’t want to go to school again.
Paula Williams: :04:31 Right.
John Williams: 0:04:32 I mean, I was out of school for almost 25 plus years before I went back to get my MBA. And I was not, didn’t start off to be a very pleasant experience but it got to be more fun as I got into it.
Paula Williams: :04:44 Right.
Well, and that’s absolutely true. Nobody has time to learn about your product. And so if you offer people education, they’re going to turn you down. You really have to sell the education as much as you sell anything else that you sell. So the hard truth is that nobody wants to learn about your product.
They want to possibly learn to solve a problem that they have. And your product may be a means to an end for them. But if you were to offer them a mini-course on how to use your product or something like that, that is really not going to go over very well.
There are some situations where you can actually stand up in front of a group of people and give them a lecture, more or less, about your subject matter expertise or about your product. You can do education sessions at a lot of different places. NBAA just put out their call for papers, which is due February 29th.
So if it’s before that when you’re listening to this, you still have an opportunity to submit their call for speakers and submit a proposal for their call for speakers and potentially get a room full of people as a captive audience for 60 minutes.
John Williams: 0:05:59 And you win twice.
One, you educate customers and you become the rockstar of your company which is what you actually need to be.
Paula Williams: :06:06 Exactly, now of course those education sessions cannot be about your product. They have to be about your subject matter expertise and we’ll talk about how to frame that headline or those scenarios so that they’re palatable in an education session.
Other places you can give education sessions or other places that people are looking for keynote speakers or continuing education sessions and things like that. There’s a lot of different associations that do periodic meetings and they’re always looking for guest speakers. Your Chamber of Commerce might be a good place to do this if you’re like a charter company that delivers services to the public.
Maybe talk about how to reduce your travel costs or make your travel more efficient. BNI, Business Networking International, Is a great place to do education sessions as well. All right, so a lot of people think of education as a boring lecture or a boring series of lectures and there are some ways to make it more interesting.
John Williams: 0:07:13 And then our first is don’t lecture.
Paula Williams: :07:17 [LAUGH] Absolutely. Or if you absolutely must lecture there are some ways to make it more interesting. I used to work for Franklin Covey and I used to give the most boring course that they offer. They’re actually pretty good at doing great materials and things like that, but this was a class that they developed out of necessity.
A lot of business leaders in the area, and in other areas, had problems with people who were not able to communicate well with their memos and their emails and other kinds of things. So this was a class that was basically a Business English class more than anything else.
And it was, the purpose of this class was for bosses would pretty much sentence their employees to take this class because they thought that their memos and their emails and things were not very good. So they were not happy to be in the room to begin with. And it was not easy to win them over to my way of thinking but you know Business English is fascinating.
So there’s some ways that you can make that more interesting and this was a really high need for me because these people didn’t want to be in the room. But my job was dependent on them filling out a survey at the end of the session saying they had a great time, they learned everything, they passed the exam at the end of the course, they were happy that they spent the time, and they go back to their place of employment telling everybody else how great this class was.
This is not an easy task. So some ways that that becomes easier is by having a great title, not only for the session itself but for sub-sections of the lecture. Having different segments of it so that it’s broken up into pieces. And then having them introducing them with a great title that’s either a problem or a solution or a question that really gets people engaged.
Bringing in other speakers from time to time, especially if you’ve got a multiple day session, having somebody else come in and speak even for five minutes really tends to energize things. And of course being at Franklin Covey, they had a lot of great speakers that I could beg, borrow, and steal from the other courses to come in and talk, including Stephen Covey.
If you’ve ever heard him speak, he really has a gift telling stories. People tend to remember information that’s presented as a story much better than information that’s presented just as data. So, you want to think in terms of what story can I tell that will illustrate this point? You want to think visually.
How can I use photos or graphs to present this information, as opposed to simply words. You want to think in terms of a game show. If you were to take all this information and if you were in charge of building a game show out of it, is there a way that you can gamify this?
And make it so that people are competing against each other to prove that they know this stuff better. I always used to throw candy and this is a great way to wake up the audience, as well as inspire a little bit of competition and make things more interesting.
And the last thing is just remember that technical data goes in the handouts, not in the speaker notes. You know, if there’s something that you have to, technical data that you have to deliver, you want to make sure that that’s on paper that people can hold in their hands.
As opposed to up on the screen where they’re squinting at it.
John Williams: 0:10:42 And lastly, know your audience.
Paula Williams: :10:46 [LAUGH] That’s a good one.
John Williams: 0:10:47 Well, I remember when you stood in front of a Board of Directors of a very large bank in this country. And you did not throw candy.
Paula Williams: :10:59 [LAUGH]
John Williams: 0:11:00 [LAUGH] But you did everything else, got the point across, convinced them of the necessity of what you were talking about. And everybody, basically, gave you a standing round of ovation to the end and walked out. And we got our point across.
Paula Williams: :11:17 Right, well and that was a very straight-laced group of people that we were meeting for the first time to talk about a very serious issue So candy is not always appropriate.
John Williams: 0:11:25 That’s what I mean, know your audience.
Paula Williams: :11:27 Right. [LAUGH] But there are times when it can be really helpful. All right, so how do you put this together? And how do you know when to present what information? And how do you get an opportunity to present information?
If we go back to our marketing system, phase one is advertising and prospecting. Phase two is building credibility and closing sales. And phase three is referrals, resales, and recaptures. We want to think about this in terms of where education fits the best. And of course on the very front end of advertising and prospecting, all you want to do is get people’s attention.
You don’t want to dump a bunch of information on them until they are ready for it and until they know why they’re interested. So phase one, there’s a couple of things that you can do to educate people. But your first blue arrow, if you look at our marketing system, if you’re familiar with that, your very first advertising activity is going to be something that is an attention getter and not necessarily an education piece.
So your website, social media, presentations, your trade show presentations, videos, and other things, are more to get attention than to actually teach people about your product. So that’s just the first meeting or a first date. So you want to keep things light, easy, and no problem, and not too serious and not too much commitment or risk on anybody’s part.
But your next step could be something like download an e-book or attend a webinar or something along those lines so that first little call-to-action might be something that’s really helpful for that. Another possibility would be an information package delivered once you decide this person is qualified for my product or service or it looks like they’re qualified.
At least they have the, what are the three things involved with qualifying a customer? Interest, authority, and resources. So if they have two out of those three things, then maybe you send them an information package. So those are all possibilities. And then further along, you know once you’ve started having some conversations with them, you’ve had an initial sales call, you know a little bit more about them.
You can deliver some more specific educational information in small pieces, like our regular emails, we do our Marketing Mondays. Things like that, that always have a little bit of education in them, that’s easy to digest and not too long or serious or horrible for people to listen to.
Social media conversations, if somebody asks a question, you could jump in and say here’s a way to solve that problem. Or you could do a did you know series. Did you know that most people that do marketing are doing it wrong? [LAUGH] Things like that. And we’ll give you some examples of how that works.
But that’s really where it starts. There are other places in your phase three after someone first becomes a customer, you can send them a new customer information package that has a lot more information in it because now they’ve spent money. They are committed to your product. And you need to make sure that they’re using it properly and know as much as they need to know about it.
All right, so that kind of shows you where it fits in the grand scheme of things. Mostly in what we call phase two, which is building credibility and closing sales, right? Okay, so we talked about webinars. How can you present information really well? And webinars are a really good way to do this.
In fact, we’ve made this our homepage. If you go to AviationBusinessConsultants.com, you’ll see the very first call to action that you see is our next free webinar. Because we’ve found that’s a really good way to engage with people who have a need for our product or service and to show them how we do things and to figure out if we’re a good match or not, Is to invite them to a webinar.
But webinars of course, like education sessions, have to follow all those rules we talked about, and they need to be about problems, not about products, right?
John Williams: 0:15:45 Absolutely.
Paula Williams: :15:45 Yeah, you can’t say, come to our webinar all about product X and expect them to be interested. It has to be something like, the titles of our webinars are How to Build Credibility and Close Sales, or How to Get More Referrals, or How to Solve a Problem.
Those title things that we had talked about. Demos, the bigger, cooler, and more dramatic, the better. And in this case, one example that we have, Tanis Aircraft Products, did a project with a Warbird Organization to put a preheat system on a big radial engine on one of those fantastic old warbirds.
Now when you put a pre-heat system on a Cessna 172, it’s fantastic. But when you put a preheat system on a warbird, its just bigger, cooler, and more dramatic, right?
John Williams: 0:16:42 Well, and it works just as well for those guys that does the little motors.
Paula Williams: :16:46 Absolutely but you’re going to get a lot more attention with a warbird installation because people, a lot of people are just more interested in seeing how that works.
And they’re more interested in seeing the inside of a warbird engine than they are a 172 engine. So you’re going to take advantage of some of that natural instinct as well as just making the use of your product bigger, cooler, and more dramatic. Okay, e-books. I would say three years ago this was probably the very best advice that we could give people was to build an e-book.
Now we built an e-book for Dallas Jet International three years ago. Actually it was more than that now, it was probably about four years ago. Hundreds of people downloaded it and it was about questions people should ask but don’t, when they’re buying an aircraft. And so that e-book is still out there if you go to aircraftsalesinsights.com.
You can download that e-book and get a lot of information about the anatomy of an aircraft sale and it’s great information. There’s a lot of people that use e-books now that didn’t. So it’s kind of a, I’m going to say, it’s less unique than it was three years ago.
So it is not as effective as it was before everybody was doing it. But it still is an excellent way to produce some good information and to collect leads, build your list, and educate your audience. Real books, we found, are a little bit more compelling now. And what you can do, we offer our social media guide for free, just for postage and handling.
If you go to AviationBusinessConsultants.com/SocialMediaGuide you can fill out a little form and pay $5.99 for shipping and handling. And we will send you a real book which is our social media guide for the aviation industry. That has a higher perceived value than an e-book and it’s also more unusual than an e-book and we’ve found it to be more effective than our e-book in the last year.
So that’s something that’s been changing the last little bit. And of course we talked about information packages. Do you want to talk about some of these, John, things that you’ve gotten from companies you buy stuff from?
John Williams: 0:19:05 Well when you buy something from Cessna, that typically is an airplane.
Paula Williams: :19:09 [LAUGH]
John Williams: 0:19:10 [COUGH] Or now I guess that’s Textron, but whatever. They go way out of their way. They probably spend several hundred maybe four, $500 on stuff to give to you before you leave and some more stuff that arrives to your office after you get back. And it’s all high quality stuff and it’s stuff I still have in the office.
Paula Williams: :19:36 Right so they gave you a little flashlight and a nice little key fob with a light on it and the customer service card with the numbers that you call, a little laminated thing that’s really-
John Williams: 0:19:50 It’s a nice cross pin set, pictures of your aircraft, and all kinds of things.
And they also provided a cleaning kit for the airplane and so forth.
Paula Williams: :20:03 And in this one, they actually gave you the baby pictures of your airplane rolling off the factory floor. And the sales rep turning over the keys and stuff like that. So that’s the set of pictures that you still have in the office.
John Williams: 0:20:16 Yes.
Paula Williams: :20:17 Some people have baby pictures of their children. John has baby pictures of one of our airplanes. When I took, when I went to flight school not too long ago, actually it was in 2009, that’s how long ago it was, they still had the printed FAR/AIM.
But I got a really nice little kit from the Cessna pilot-
John Williams: 0:20:42 Center.
Paula Williams: :20:44 Center. And a lot of flight schools belong to that and so they take advantage of Cessna’s marketing materials, which they do very well. So that included a bunch of books, there was the log book, the text books, a nice little ME board with an E6B.
The flight school that I worked with actually had some radio sheets that I thought were really, really helpful because when you’re new, one of the hardest things to do is make those radio calls. So if you can fill that out ahead of time with, here’s what they’re going to ask and here’s what I need to say.
And you have that on your knee board, that is just really reassuring for your first few flights. So you can think about what would be some thoughtful things that we can put together for a new customer that will help educate them and make the process easier and more fun for them, or less painful at least.
John Williams: 0:21:36 You might think about, depending on what your product is.
Paula Williams: :21:41 Mm-hm.
John Williams: 0:21:42 Cuz when I went down there, I actually did an acceptance test flight with a test pilot with Cessna and you know, I’ve got enough hours. I didn’t have to worry about being able to fly the airplane, but I asked him, I said, cuz he was sitting over there running through his checklist and all the pieces and parts and things he had to do while I was flying.
And I kept asking if I could do this and that and the other thing. And one of the things I wanted to do was slow fly it. And he said sure, he said just whatever you feel up to.
Paula Williams: :22:16 Mm-hm.
John Williams: 0:22:16 So out of curiosity, because I know they had re-engineered, they had re-designed the leading edge of the wing and it was supposed to give it better slow flight capability.
So I said, okay, we’re at 5000 feet, I don’t care if I stall it, I mean you know.
Paula Williams: :22:32 Mm-hm.
John Williams: 0:22:33 So I kept slowing it down and slowing it down. Then flaps slower, slower, slower. And I can tell you with two of us on board and full flaps, maybe not full, I don’t recall if it’s full flaps or 30 degrees.
I don’t know, whatever. And about 1,000 to 1,200 RPM that airplane will fly at 25 to 30 knots indicated.
Paula Williams: :22:57 Right.
John Williams: 0:22:57 And the tape is fascinating within 25 and 30 or a little bit more. The point is, it flies slower than they say it will. And I just find it quite interesting.
And you can do that with you products too. Take it out, If you say it’ll do A, B, C and work with them and say but it will also do this. Well I know it will but we don’t say that because we don’t guarantee that.
Paula Williams: :23:23 Right.
John Williams: 0:23:23 And then you get your people happier than they would have been otherwise.
Paula Williams: :23:26 Right so above and beyond expectations and a lot of times that time with a representative from your company, going through a checklist of things, making sure that you know before you leave there, here are some of the things that you need to know that this product can do.
That really makes a huge difference. So that’s fantastic. You can also do information packages before someone buys something, and we do this in our business and then we also do this for some of our clients. We did a Halloween package for Vlog, that had the scary things happen when people don’t backup their logbooks.
And some case studies, and some candy, Halloween candy, some cartoons, and other things that are not seen as education necessarily. They’re seen as fun. So that really helps get over that barrier of I don’t want to learn anything, I just want to get my problem solved. And makes them learn in spite of themselves, right?
Okay another thing that we like to do is these little factoid cards. And these are just some little colored on neon cardstock little cards that say did you know and it has a little factoid.
John Williams: 0:24:43 The most common reason businesses fail is not because they didn’t have a great product or a great service, It’s simply because they didn’t have enough customers or make enough sales.
Paula Williams: :24:52 Right, exactly, and there are other cards in that deck that we include in those information packages. It’s another form of content marketing, in this case, physical paper in these little cardstock thingies. So, those are fun and they’re easy to use. You could put those in with somebody’s bills. You could put those in with somebody’s invoices. You know, you could just slip them into an envelope.
You could put them into an information package and other kinds of things. So those are some ways that you can really kind of sneak in education for your customers and make that a lot more fun and make that a lot more likely to happen. And as you know, educated customers are much better customers.
They are much more likely to enjoy your product, benefit from your product, refer other people. They are less price sensitive and they are more appreciative of what you do because they know what goes into it right?
John Williams: 0:25:42 Absolutely.
Paula Williams: :25:43 All right, so subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, or you can, of course, get to it from our website which is AviationBusinessConsultants.com/Podcast and you can get to that.
If you subscribe on iTunes, then you’ll be notified in your car or on your iPod or whatever it is that you’re using, when there’s a new episode and things like that. So if you are on iTunes or on Stitcher, please do leave us a review. Those really do help us.
And if you enjoy the information that you get here, we’d love to hear what you think, what you’d like to hear more or less of, and so on. So thank you for joining us, we know you’re busy, and we will talk to you next week.