Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Educational selling turns your knowledge of your product or service into one of your most effective sales tools. One way is to write and distribute a White Paper. Here’s tips from an article about selling with White Papers “State Your Case--Use White Papers And Case Studies To Promote Your Business” By Kathy Stuesser in Growth—The Business to Business Resource, a local publication in Woodlands, Texas. (A great way to produce White Papers is to join or start a Franklin Circle, let me know if you’d like more information by emailing me at JohnSWren@aol.com with “Franklin Circle” in the subject line.)

For the entire State Your Case article, go to

Here's the heart of the article and some great tips:

The Case for Educational Selling

Customers are like submarines. They spend much of their time underwater tending to the daily tasks at work, and surface only when it is time to make a purchase. Since general marketing only captures the attention of those currently looking to buy, there is a greater need for maintaining mind-share with your best prospects while they are in a submerged state, not looking to buy. This positions your products or services for future sales.

White papers and case studies have the dual benefits of helping you achieve prominence and affirm credibility.

White Papers

A white paper is generally an authoritative report, aimed at providing an in-depth explanation of a complex technology, product, service, or issue. Most white papers are 5-12 pages in length. To be effective, it cannot be a “data-dump” of all information known about a subject; instead, a white paper needs a central focus or theme to be carried throughout.


White Papers and Case Studies are extremely versatile documents. Here are some of the ways you can leverage them to support sales and marketing efforts:

Distribute it as a press release. A shorter version of a Case Story, explaining how your company solved a specifi c customer problem with a new or existing product or service, is likely of interest to similar customers and makes a compelling press release.

Mail or email it to prospects and customers. Sending useful information to current or potential clients on a regular basis creates goodwill and keeps your name in the forefront, improving the odds they will call you when the time comes to buy.

Give it to Sales. A White Paper that demystifi es a certain technology or process reduces the number of phone calls from customers with follow-up questions or concerns. If the Sales department can circulate the Paper to prospects and customers, they may be able to shorten the sales cycle and be more productive!

Post it on your web site. The Internet has become an invaluable tool for customers to research their options before committing to a specifi c solution.

Use it as a story in your newsletter or ezine. Ask any publisher and they will tell you good content is critical. A well-written Case Study becomes a ready article for your company’s next newsletter or ezine.

Turn it in to a speaking topic. A White Paper or Case Study can easily become the basis for a presentation. The information contained within these documents is easily extracted onto PowerPoint slides or a valuable printout for your audience to take away.

Make it a testimonial. Case Studies are more powerful than a stand alone quote because they show the specifi cs of a customer problem and the solution. They should include plenty of details, along with customer quotes on the outstanding performance of your product or service.

Hand it out at trade shows. Customers are bombarded with so much information at a tradeshow that it’s unrealistic to think they will remember your most salient points once they return to work. An attractive White Paper or Case Study will be saved for future reference. You might even encourage them to take notes directly on the handout as you talk thus improving the odds that your information will be kept.

1 comment:

  1. John:
    I really appreciate your blog post in summarizing the value of educational white papers. As a presentation consultant, I have indeed found it challenging to detemine an effective marketing procedure, with limited resources and budget. You have suggested a valuable tool for reaching potential clients in today's information-loaded work environment. Provide a useful resource is a great idea.

    John Saremba


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