If you are still 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 your customer can go online and place the order, then why do they need to see you?
Become your customer’s research and development department (R&D) and you will improve the quality of your relationships and insulate your company from competitive erosion.
I think it’s our responsibility as sales specialists to be on the leading edge of information. That is, the right kind of information; information that aligns with your customer’s strategic objectives. This brings us to the next question. Do you know what your customers overall strategic objectives are?
If you are going to become an important resource to your customer then you are going to have to spend additional quality time with them and engage in conversations that are meaningful and aligned with their objectives. This means you are going to have to set aside some time to do your homework and do a little research before meeting with your clients.
I personally like to get up early, have my coffee (this step is essential) and then conduct my research. I use Evernote to store the research I come up with, however there are also several other online applications that will do the job.
Think about it this way, the more quality time you spend with your customer, the more value you are bringing to the relationship. Don’t just show up and chew the fat. Bring some knowledge-based distinctive value with you. It doesn’t matter if the customer has heard the information already, they will recognize that you are thinking about them when you’re not just trying to get an order.
So, you are probably thinking, Where am I going to find 30 minutes a day to do some research, I can barely get everything done as it is! (common response) Try canceling your newspaper subscription. It’s old news by the time you read it anyway 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, if it hasn’t already, is about to change. Become the trusted advisor to your customer and watch your business grow.