show-dont-tellToday’s skeptical buyers don’t want to hear about the value of your product. They want to see how it can transform their businesses.

Small business is the heartbeat of America. And the Chamber of Commerce plays an important role in that success by facilitating connections among members and offering relevant content to help companies grow.

That’s why I invited Megan Totka, chief editor of, to guest blog this month. She reminds us all that no matter what size business we sell for, we should never tell and never pitch. Instead, we should always demonstrate the results we can deliver. After all, that’s the reason clients buy.

Here’s what Megan has to say on the topic:

“If I told you I had a product that could transform your business, cut your working hours in half, and make you a millionaire, would you believe me? Of course not. Sure, you might be interested. But without any proof, why would you even give such a pitch the time of day?

Buyers today have good reason to be skeptical of you and your product. Money is tight, and the Internet has forced businesses to become more transparent than ever. In short, sealing the deal isn’t so easy in today’s economy.

Showing vs. Telling

Sometimes we convey the most by saying as little as possible. You cannot effectively sell unless your prospects and clients trust you. And you don’t establish trust with words. You do it by showing that you’re an expert.

The key word here is show. Talk is cheap, but showing that you and your product are up to snuff can be challenging. By providing concrete proof of your expertise, you’ll be better poised for success.

But how?

First Impressions Matter

It’s crucial to “look the part” and meet the expectations of potential buyers—in person and online. That’s why you want to:

  • Carry yourself in a professional manner, using proper etiquette when it comes to communication, responding to questions, etc.
  • Ensure that your business website has an equally professional look-and-feel in terms of its design, functionality, and content.
  • Create a social media presence that’s equally strong, emphasizing thought-leadership within your industry and what sets you (and your company) apart from competitors.

Knowledge is Power

Converting leads requires more than just looking the part. Today’s influencers online are smart and savvy. In short, they have the brains to back up whatever they’re selling. Leverage your website’s content to show that you know your industry and that you’re passionate about your product. Regularly producing quality content shows users that you know your stuff. Furthermore, if you can get other experts and businesses to circulate your content, you’ll truly stand out as a thought leader.

Let Them Do the Talking

If you can talk all day about your product and its benefits, that’s good. If others will do it for you, that’s much, much better. While buyers may be hesitant to believe what we have to say, they’ll listen to their peers.

Establishing a base of passionate, excited followers and customers who evangelize your business and products is the holy grail of every small business. Word-of-mouth is arguably the strongest and most reliable form of marketing out there. Online review sites (think: Yelp!) are the litmus test for you and your business. You should also leverage user testimonials on your website.

The Bottom Line

When it comes time to seal the deal, show your prospects (and referral sources) what you’ve accomplished, rather than relying on your words alone. When you put your expertise on display, rather than just your product, people are much more likely to listen. Your professionalism, knowledge, and past experience all matter in sales. Are you using these elements to your advantage?”

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How do you go about showing, rather than just telling, clients and prospects that you know your stuff?  (2)About the Author

Megan Totka is the chief editor for She specializes in small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the Web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.