Our company does a lot of live seminars.  In fact, over the last year, we’ve done more than 100 and that number could easily end up higher this year. When I took over as CEO back in 2001, Laughlin Associates did just four 3-day workshops per year. These programs were more focused on selling than educating. . There pitches that included things like, “If you buy right now you will get (fill in the blank) for free.” We quickly found that this kind of tactic created either excitement or cynicism depending on your perspective. The seminars were successful selling machines but there were challenges that followed behind. The problem with selling based significantly on excitement and emotion is that buyers will often experience buyer’s remorse. Thus, after some seminars there might follow a significant refunding of money or other company-client squabbles. This was not good and it was clear that we could improve our product.

Today, if you examine one of our seminar fliers you will find a very different agenda. Our programs feature highly trained Laughlin staff, expert lawyers and CPAs, each with a unique specialty.  We cover topics ranging from choosing an entity that is right for your business, how to manage your corporate record book, lectures on the latest tax deductions for business owners, bullet proof asset protection, and how to organize your business so that it you can sell it or pass it down to your heirs. There is no doubt that we want people to become clients, but the tactics are different. As a matter of fact, now our goal is to teach you everything you need to know in order to take care of all of these issues yourself. However, it is our experience that business owners tend to want to understand the big picture and then want somebody else to deal with the details. Thankfully, they hire us to handle those details more often than not.

As business owners, are we thinking about what our customers really need, or are we just trying to sell them something?  I’d love to hear how you approach sales vs. education and how that may (or may not) be profiting your business.

Author’s Note: We have a 3-day workshop coming up in March. After the program I plan to post some video and any other interesting stuff that comes from the event. We also will post a variety of content to our various social media platforms. It is my hope that as this information is made available, that you business owners will take a couple of minutes to review it.