Written by Sean McPheat |
Sales is one of the most fluid of industries, mainly because of the massive amount of changes that it has been involved in over the years.
The only consistent factor that has existed has been change.
Thinking about what has to happen for a sales consultant to be successful, one thing that naturally comes up is their ability to achieve, maintain and retain a highly competitive advantage.
What is it that contributes to this success?
Many salespeople we have asked tend to fall back on their products or services for that competitive advantage.
They often think that if their company could just produce the next ‘big thing’ in their industry, the competition will melt away and they just need to decide which island they will buy with their commission.
Most buyers, though, will inform you that competitive advantage seldom revolves around facts or figures or services or even products.
What buyers want from their suppliers is a consistency of help in making their business more successful.
So what do we think will make the difference today and tomorrow in giving you the edge in the success stakes?
We believe it’s your ability to become extremely valuable to your market place and customers through what you learn.
In other words, you will become very valuable to future prospects based on what you know that they don’t know.
If you were to have the best knowledge about how businesses should be set up to use your product effectively, customers will see that they can trust you to help them achieve more than they are achieving at the moment.
Imagine approaching a prospect who is struggling in their industry against bigger or more productive or more profitable competitors.
Unless you have the holy grail for their business and they immediately win the jackpot, what can you suggest this company does to turn round their fortunes and make inroads in their market?
That’s the million-dollar question, the answer to which will increase your value a hundred-fold to them.
Your knowledge and expertise is what is priceless to a company like that.
Who is paid most money these days (outside of the overpaid prima-donnas in the premier league!)?
Yes, it’s those people who have the knowledge and ability to add value to a company’s strategic fortunes.
Where do they get their knowledge from?
Mainly through targeted research in areas that most important to the future operations of business that matter to them.
What can you learn from this?
Well, in order to get a distinct competitive advantage, you must become an avid learner of new ideas, concepts and trends.
There are plenty of ways to do this.
Identify people who are in-the-know about current trends and subscribe to their websites, blogs and LinkedIn articles
Create files in which you can save articles, information, knowledge and writings that offer insights into what’s happening now and in the future.
Get to know the meanings behind these ideas for your industry. Ask yourself, “If this came true, what implications does it have for the future of my clients and prospects?”
Decide on the short-term measurements you can use to assess success in your market. What could you do to improve those short-term results?
Design and create articles and blogs that build your knowledge awareness in your market place.
Start sending information you have accrued to your prospects you would love to have business from.
Start contributing information to specific LinkedIn Groups so you build a quick reputation for yourself with people who matter to you.
Develop strategies to contact companies and share your knowledge with the key personnel, without trying to sell a thing.
Become the person of choice when these prospects are starting to look for solutions.
Show your expertise at speaking events, Rotaries, Lions Clubs, seminars and the like, where people go to listen to experts.
Your knowledge and expertise will prove to be a massive asset to you and your company over the next few years.
Start planning now to see how you can add value to every company you work with.
Originally published: 30 November, 2016