The 3rd step of preparing someone for a commitment is to spend sufficient time in an education process. This is the most straightforward and easiest step in the persuasive process. Simply put, this step is to impart the information required to move your persuasive argument forward.
For example, in our business, we often spend a significant amount of time educating people about the fundamentals of GPU and accelerator computing. Many of our prospects initially understand only that accelerators can deliver speed and not much else. They do not understand their hardware and software options. They do not understand where in their code to use accelerators. They certainly do not understand how to write expertly tuned code for accelerators. So we educate.
Another example is the marketing automation cluster of companies in Atlanta. Over the last 5-10 years, this cluster has educated the world about what marketing automation means. It is an entirely new way of marketing and in order to grow these cluster of businesses, a ton of education has occurred.
Education is important. It is the 3rd step of the commitment pattern: after building relationships of trust (e.g. listening to what customers want), and helping others recognize your value proposition (e.g. delivering your first hooks that motivate the prospect to keep listening to what you have to say). Education should be minimally sufficient. If it takes too long, your sales cycle can lengthen dramatically and the relationship has more time to sour. It does, however, need to be sufficient to help the prospect overcome hurdles as they present themselves.
As in all the other steps, these same principles can apply to any persuasive engagment.
What are your thoughts on the process of educating prospects?