Learners Are The New Buyers:Growth-Hacking Your Business for Accelerated Success
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
-William Butler Yeats
Entrepreneurs are holding the fuel, AND the flame….
“Houston, we have a problem.”
With those five words, Hollywood got our attention, and millions of us were gripped by the unfolding fate of the Apollo 13 crew.
When it comes to getting our attention, Hollywood really has mastered the art, hasn’t it. Within just a few seconds. Even for really bad films. (Have you seen Sharknado?!)
If only we could do the same in business. Because here, we really do have a problem.
And just like a Hollywood blockbuster disaster film, this problem is big, it’s accelerating, and it affects all of us. But this problem is like an asteroid, fast moving yet hidden from view…
For years, business has been undergoing a seismic shift, but it’s so subtle that most business owners haven’t seen it for what it is. So they’re being caught off guard, with no defences, no answers and very little time to figure a way out before they get crushed by it.
This seismic shift means that audience attention, engagement and trust have become endangered species. And the results are not pretty. See how much of this sounds familiar:
- The ‘noise level’ of marketing is becoming overwhelming
- It’s getting harder and costlier to get your message seen, heard and acted on
- The number of marketing strategies and platforms are so numerous and confusing that very few business owners have real confidence in what’s best for their business
As a result, the majority of entrepreneurs find they’re working harder than ever to generate leads, make sales and keep their heads above the water in an increasingly crowded market place, and they’re still not getting the results they’re scrambling for.
Three Big Gravitational Forces on Business Today
There are three main reasons it’s so hard out there.
Firstly, we’re all drowning in data – including our customers.
When the following infographic was originally published in 2012, there were 684,478 pieces of content shared every minute on Facebook. Fast forward to 2014 and that number has quadrupled to 2,460,000 pieces. Per minute. No wonder we’re in overwhelm! (See Image on: http://bit.ly/1hF0cN4 )
But here’s the second major factor. More information has not made us feel more connected or more trusting. In fact, trust levels across business, government and public and private institutions of all types have plummeted in the past 15 years. (There is hard research data on this, but as a quick test, ask yourself: do you trust more, or less, than you used to?)
And thirdly, audiences are bored and jaded with being sold to in the traditional way (which to make matters worse, has by and large become lazier and less engaging).
There is so much information out there right now, that people know longer know who to listen to, who to trust and where to spend their money. With so much marketing and sales activity going on around them, the only thing they can truly be confident they KNOW is that everyone wants their money. Woo hoo, eh?
After all, ask yourself, what do you do when the commercials interrupt your favourite TV or radio show? Or appear between the interesting pages of your favourite magazine? How do you react to unsolicited email or snail mail about someone’s amazing SEO services?
Given these seismic shifts, what chance would you give traditional marketing methods, even when super-charged with social media? How much would you bank on it attracting new leads and winning more sales for your business?
What Our Audiences Are Actually Hungering After
Happily, there’s a way out of this squeeze, and it’s great news.
The answer lies in what our prospects and customers really want.
At the most basic level, what’s one of the most persistent questions you hear from customers? “How do I…?” That’s why we see such an explosion in wikis, for example.
Even online reviews, which are answers to the question “What do you think of X?” are actually a step on the road to answering “How do I…?”
Instead of the traditional quick-fire response of “Quick, sell ‘em something before they can think for themselves!”, a growing group of leading entrepreneurs are providing something far more valuable, engaging and effective for their audiences, and their bottom line…
Education. The kind you really want and can put to use readily, under your own steam.
More than ever, people are hungry for answers – on all kinds of levels. And they want to experience your expertise, product, service or solution before they buy.
By contrast, the traditional response was to keep handling objections until your prospect says yes or gave up and walked away. That approach is wearing really thin, and smart businesses have cottoned on to a new truth.
Welcome to the Learning Age, where Learners are your best Buyers
Just telling people what we do and what we have to offer is no longer enough to get leads, make sales or create an impact in our industry.
We need to EDUCATE our audience about our topic, not about our products. We need to empower, inspire and enlighten them with our knowledge and expertise. And we need to be recognised as thought leaders in our field.
Along the way, we need to create interactive conversations with our audience in a way that provides them with immediate insights, tools and actionable information that makes a positive difference to their business and/or their life.
This method of ‘edu-preneurship’ not only acts as an invaluable entry point for new customers, it also will see you piling up testimonials and a tribe of raving fans far faster than traditional sales meetings.
Real-World Results of Turbo-Charged Business Growth
SamCawthorn is the owner of The Institute for Professional Speakers. In just two years, Sam has created a global list of over 2 million potential customers by converting his knowledge into free workshops that convert into five-figure paying customers for his globally acclaimed professional speaker training.
Michelle Bridges, who sells diet plans and healthy eating products, has generated a multi-million dollar business by turning her knowledge of the health industry into a 12 week learning program.
And Jane Lu has grown her fashion business ‘Show Pony’ from $40,000 per month, to more than $500,000 per month, in less than 2 years, by educating her audience on how to dress in the latest fashion trends.
These entrepreneurs have become edu-preneurs, and they are proof that providing informative and results-generating value upfront, is a far more effective approach than starting the customer relationship by resorting to traditional selling techniques.
Like the delicatessen salesman who lets you taste the cheese before you buy, all of the leading entrepreneurs know that giving your customers results in advance is the new way of getting business – and that’s what edupreneurs deliver in their content, before going on to teach their customers the full ‘how to’ on what they do.
But What If You’re Not A Natural Born Educator?
There’s even more good news. You don’t have to do a degree in education to help people.
For starters, you already have all of the knowledge your customers need. You are quite likely already an expert in your field. All you need to do is to extract it from your head and present it in a way that your audience can learn from and get results.
(And if you’re not yet fully qualified in your field, you’d be surprised at how much you do know that’s of value to others, that you can start teaching. And by the same token, in this Learning Age, it’s easier than ever to upskill, get results and pass on your learning to others.)
Your positioning and credibility in the market place is also likely to increase as a result of sharing your expertise. This approach also generates free exposure, PR and marketing – especially when your audience finds it so valuable that they begin sharing it with their networks and talking about you to their peers.
Ripples That Extend Around the World, Literally
I recently experienced this amazing effect of edupreneruship when a man I’d never met before, who lives on the other side of the world, had seen one of my free online webinars about edupreneurship.
He had a meeting with a woman he’d never met before and she too had happened to have seen the same webinar and began talking about me. Despite being strangers to each other, and to me, on the other side of the world, they both came to me and became my clients that week!
Finally, True Differentiation
Educating your audience also gives you a sense of exclusivity in a blue ocean, as you raise yourself above all the other people who are just talking about their topic, and leverage yourself as the only one who is teaching people how to do it.
This automatically increases your influence, leads, impact and ultimately your earnings. Before long, you position yourself as the go-to expert in your field, the guru (in the original sense of respected teacher) who teaches us how to do what you do.
This is when your small efforts to prime the pump generate a growing flow of customers coming to you. No more scrabbling for table scraps. Ever.
We Do Need More Education
Hopefully, this article has opened your eyes to the seismic shifts in business, and on the flip side, the tremendous opportunity for meeting the growing hunger for valuable knowledge.
And hopefully, you’re beginning to see how being an edupreneur is a far more valued and lucrative place to be than a business that just ‘tells and sells’.
We need more edupreneurs. The demand is huge, and so are the rewards, financially and on so many other levels.
And you can become an edupreneur – far easier than you think.
Edu-preneurship is the new Entrepreneurship and the time is now. Are you ready to hop on board?
About the Author: Download Sarah’s full bio here
Sarah Cordiner, CEO of MainTraining is dubbed the expert in ‘edu-preneurship’ and ‘edu-marketing’.
Are you a thought leader, entrepreneur or speaker? Want to be seen as the authority in your industry sector?
Want to make a greater impact on your target audience? Want to increase your income whilst doing so?
Learn how now!
Learn how now!
Sarah’s purpose in life is to plague the world with change-makers, impact-creators and and educators. To enable entrepreneurs and infopreneurs to effectively inspire, grow and inform others with their knowledge, expertise and passion – whilst doing so in a profitable manner.
With a Professional Graduate Degree in Vocational Education and Training, a Degree in Education and a Diploma to Teach in Tertiary (VET) Education and over 10 years in business (in three different countries); Sarah knows a thing or two about combining business with education to create a potent elixir of growth for entrepreneur and audience alike.
Sarah provides training, keynotes, workshops and coaching to schools, universities, colleges, entrepreneurs, small/medium/large businesses, prisons, Government and professionals in building their brand, sales, business, positioning and impact, using the powerful, value-giving and transformative medium of education and training.