If you are walking into an account and taking an order without bringing insights and intelligence to the table, you may be on your way to losing your customer. Think about it for a moment. If they can go online and place the order, then why do they need to see you? Want to add value to your client? You could begin by contributing to their research and development department (R&D) which would improve the quality of your relationship and help to insulate your company from competitive erosion.
I think it’s our responsibility as sales professionals to be on the leading edge of information. The right kind of information; information that aligns with your customer’s strategic objectives. And this brings us to the next question. Do you know what your customer’s strategic objectives are?
If you are going to become a trusted resource to your client, then you are going to have to spend additional quality time with them and engage in conversations that are meaningful and aligned with their goals. To do this effectively, you are going to have to set aside some time for homework and a little research before meeting with your clients.
I like to get up early, have my coffee (this step is essential) and then conduct my daily research. I use Evernote (www.evernote.com) to organize the information, however, there are also several other online applications that will do the job.
The more quality time you spend with your client, the more value you bring to the relationship. Don’t just show up and chew the fat. Bring some knowledge-based value with you. Even if the customer has received the information already, they will appreciate the fact that you were thinking about them and not just trying to get an order.
You might think, Where am I going to find 30 minutes a day to do some research, I can barely get everything done as it is! (typical response) Try canceling your newspaper subscription. It’s old news by the time you read it, and the internet will give you real-time information should there be anything you need to worry about.
The bottom line is this. Your role as a salesperson, is changing, if it hasn’t already. Start bringing relevant information to the table and you will become a trusted advisor to your customer.