No doubt those are two key areas sales people need to be solid in however; if you really want to separate yourself from the competition to where prospects are willing to take your call, or even better yet, are calling you and asking for help, you’re going to need more than a snazzy opener or benefit statement.
Industry Expert Vs. Product Knowledge Expert
Sure, knowing your product or service inside and out is helpful but you can do all the recommending and sharing of information you want, the prospect will always know that you have a vested interest in selling what you offer to them.
Often times this will lead to the prospect needing to “shop around” and gather additional information / quotes and then will ponder on their own what decision they should make, leaving your deal to what seems to be nothing more than a coin flip with your commission check hanging in the balance.
What I’ve found...
What I’ve found to be more useful than “product (or service) knowledge” is allowing prospects to come to the determination on their own that what ever it is I’m selling, that I’m the industry expert. That I understand their pains, issues, challenges and that I walk and talk like they do… That we speak the same language because I understand what its like to be in their shoes.
Who would you rather have to fix your car… someone who has actually wrenched and fixed his or her own car or someone that read the manual?
Let’s say you sell accounting software for fixed assets. Sure, understanding the product, what it can do and what it’s limitation are and what operating systems / requirements etc is all important.
But what’s more important is for you to understand the challenges your prospects have and why they need a better solution.
And I don’t mean by doing this on the call with them (yes, you will uncover their needs and challenges during a call but that’s not what I’m talking about here… stay with me)
I’m talking about taking the time to really get in your target audiences world and see things through their eyes. Not on a call, way before that.
Case In Point…
Prior to SalesBuzz.com I owned an SEO company (service to help companies get top rankings for their keywords in the non-paid section of Google)
The idea to start an SEO company came after I was trying to help my wife’s business get off the ground and we started to use the paid ad placement in order to generate new leads… the problem was, the cost of the paid ads exceeded the profits of the products / services she was selling.
Here’s the kicker… I barely knew how to turn on a computer at the time, let alone know how to “code” a website for top rankings… but the pain of having our budget eaten up while inferior competitors got all the “free” hot leads drove me to learn how to do the technical stuff.
When selling the service I offered (after learning and getting top results while crushing my wife’s competition in the process) it was the fact that I knew my prospects pain that really earned their trust. Not just that I now knew what I was doing (that was certainly a big part of it) but with all the competition I had, being able to communicate with potential new clients in a way to where they knew I knew what they were going through and that I had a solution to share ultimately is what lead the business to be wildly successful (I eventually sold the business and now share practical sales tips on how to sell by phone, but I digress)
The point is, be more than a product / service knowledge sales rep if you truly want to separate yourself from the competition.
Become a leading expert in your field. Then usesocial media to help spread the word and just watch what happens next.
This is not something you can fake. If you are new to the industry take the time to understand what your targeted prospect goes through on a regular basis when dealing with what ever it is you sell. And once you do gain that kind of insight, use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging, Emails) to easily share that information freely, without expecting anything back.
When you truly know how to help your targeted audience solve some of their toughest challenges and offer tips and advice freely, (give more than you take) and do this on a regular basis, your reputation as an industry expert will grow. And more prospects will not only start to take your calls, they will be the ones picking up the phone to call you.
Just make sure you know what to say, when to say it, how to say it, why to say it and how to respond to their answers. Otherwise, it’s all for nothing.
Chief Sales Scientist
(888) 264-0562 Ext. 1