Don’t be a businessman, be a business…man.
I’m ticking the box for another blogging milestone: improvising famous lyrics by hip-hop impresario Jay-Z on a blog about sales. Seems outlandish, but it's quite the opposite; it’s highly relevant to what we do today.
As sales professionals, we all claim to know our customers’ business. But I’m here to argue that you don’t.
If you want to speak to the business, you better know a thing or two about it. It’s no longer acceptable that you just have a sales conversation. Get to know your buyer’s business…intimately. Know their sales model, what their distribution channels are, find out their top competitors, see if you can think of any insights on how you’d approach their business. These are just starting points on how deep you should be going into your customers’ business.
After all, if you’re going to claim to be a “trusted advisor” you’d better take demonstrable action to validate such a grandiose label.
Use social selling to your advantage here. You’ll be able to extract valuable info that can help position you as a person that knows the customer’s space deeply.
Beyond Marketing Speak
Your marketing department does a great job of starting you off when it comes to knowing your customer’s business. They’ve got information on their vertical, a bit about them from social channels, snippets on what they do, etc. But let me tell you…this is all standard.
You must be willing to go over and above and get to know their business as they know it. Chances are, your marketing department simply won’t have the time for this. You have the knowledge at your fingertips. It’s time to start researching.
It’s in activities like this that you stand out and immediately begin to reveal your knowledge and gain some buy-in from the client. If you’ve taken the time to know facets about their business that your competitors haven't bothered (or are too lazy) to get, this will help you stand out for the better.
If you don’t have the answer, that’s okay. Like I said, all the info is online. Time to research, formulate your ideas and demonstrate the knowledge. It’s all the things I’ve been asking you to do with your content sharing, but doing it in your daily offline world instead.
If you’re not going to speak at that level, how can you ever move beyond your typical sales pitch?
Call Out: Named Account Reps
I want to make a special call-out here for named account reps. If you’re managing a finite number of accounts, I believe it’s absolutely possible for you to know the top 20% of the accounts very closely. If your job description is managing a handful of accounts, your strategy should be to go deep in every corner of the account. With social selling, you’re able to do this as you find and discover new contacts and even ones you have likely missed!
The Bottom Line
Knowing your customers’ businesses at a deeper level shows grit and commitment. It's your business to know their business, and you can use social selling to your advantage to achieve this. You’ll be able to glean info that may ultimately win you your next big deal. Remember, social selling isn’t difficult, it’s just different.
Feel free to reach out to me for some tactical ways you can achieve this in your world.
Now, back to that Jay-Z song.