After working with a salesman this past weekend, I realized he was an educator and not a salesperson.

Here is what I mean. I would ask “how are things going?” His response, “well I’m seeing a lot of people, there’s always a crowd.” I would ask, “Well are you getting any of the prospects names or contact information?” The response back was, “There’s just not enough time, there’s just too many people. But I am handing out a ton of company brochures!”

This person may have had good intentions but he just turned out to be an educator, not a salesman. An educator with no students on his roll! Handing out brochures seldom results in a closed sale.

Did he do a good job? Well if his job was to educate consumers, I guess he made an effort. If his job was to sell? The answer is no!

Do I want you to educate a prospect? Yes, but only with the idea of moving the education toward a close. It must start with getting the basic contact information. Here are six possible ways:

1. Get the prospects business card (Even on a personal matter, ask for his company card. Who knows you could end up working with his company to.)

2. Have the prospect write down his or her email address. Think that’s too personal? Well the national average for email addresses is 4 per person.

3. Think of a creative way for the prospect to remember you and you remember them.

4. Offer above and beyond customer service by stating, “I have some great new products arriving in our store this week that match just what you’ve described. Can I please have your cell phone number or a way that I may contact you when they come in? I would love for you to be the first person to have an opportunity to see this new product. (Everyone likes to feel like they are first.)

5. Build your conversation in a way with the prospect so that you can always relate personally with them. (You said you and your family live in Birmingham, can I please get your email address so I can have our Alabama representative contact you?)

6. And finally, something anyone, even with no formal training can do – Just ASK bluntly – Sir/Mam, I’m paid based on both the number of prospective buyers I talk to and sales I make. Now I realize today you’re not ready to make a decision to buy, but, would you be so kind as to provide me your contact information? I sure would appreciate your help.) Most people are kind enough to help, if you approach them in the right way, and they realize in this economy a simple name and address never hurt anyone. They’ll want to help you if you help them.

It’s true that as a salesperson educating the prospect is part of the task. But educating without a close, is in all cases, not a good use of your time. The close can be as simple as getting their contact information and permission to follow back up with a call or email. As a salesperson, it’s not just about education, it’s about the close!