Complexity is the opportunity
These days things are complex. Markets, businesses and business models are changing irrevocably. Those with the ‘domain’ knowledge generally are not sharing it. There is a lot of nuance that can change situations greatly and make big differences.
Navigating this environment for a buyer is hard. If they are not immersed in something everyday – when they do it is difficult to navigate. There is a ton of information being pushed at them from authority figures which appears to be correct. Understanding the nuance is not easy in anything other than simple purchases. And every supplier is presenting them themselves as the right people to go with. It’s much easier to not change or go with your existing suppliers.
So how do you stand out? How do you make a difference?
Being experts means not just the individual sales person but the whole company. The interface is through the sales people so they need to be credible. Credibility comes from sharing knowledge and being rich sources if information to help navigate the market.
If salespeople spend their time getting through to the people in your ideal customer but are unable to ask the right questions and have qualified conversations once they find themselves in the right places, the whole activity is pointless.
They need to be the navigator of the market for the customer. Someone for them to lean on – whether a deal is done or not. Now and in the future. Delivering value from the minute a prospective customer is engaged. To help them make sense of the path ahead.
But we are already doing that?
In this age there seems to be a lot of experts. Social media is full of them. There is powerful marketing that supports this messaging in many places. It is difficult to separate what is and what isn’t right.
Here are 5 things to consider that should be demonstrated to a prospective customer. Are you excelling at all of them?
Your people need to see themselves as legitimate and credible sense makers in a market. They need to accept that we are all learning too but they are experienced. They have been there and know the path. Ensure they are doing it every day – living and breathing it. They are looking to the future with authority and conviction of what will happen based on their experience. They want to help their customers navigate the path and make it work for them. Being empowered to have this view by their management, it changes the way a supplier communicates with the market.
- Product / service
This sounds obvious. It is surprising how easy it is to come across people who don’t really know their product or service when faced with a customer who is an expert in their market. Deep knowledge should be presented here.
Markets are complex, there can be many layers of this complexity. You’ll find this is often where data is used to reach various conclusions. The data is nothing without the nuance and interpretation by those that understand it to pull out the right conclusions and demonstrate the expertise.
There are whole array of ways to understand what the competition is doing these days. From watching who people are connecting to on LinkedIn to browsing through a few press releases. Wherever possible use the competitors products – have the DEEP knowledge of them. Communicate with the competition and keep them as close as possible – drinks, lunches, dinners, chats. You can only learn from the experience. However remember, NEVER bad mouth your competition to anyone.
Demonstrating real execution is probably the most overlooked area of showing expertise. Again, we are not talking about just issuing a press release or post that announces a deal or new product. We are talking about actually delivering value to existing customers – now and for the future. This doesn’t need to be a broad public statement either! Anyone who meets your ideal customer profile should be able to access evidence of the value you add to others – moreover, how you can add to them.
Above all, keep working on demonstrating disproportionate value and this will be your reputation.
This post is supports advice in Build Your Sales Tribe – Sales in the Information Age Book. If you own the book, thanks for visiting. If you don’t own the book, find out more here: www.salestribe.co.uk
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