If there was someone you were really, really interested in dating and you found out that he or she was interested in, say, cooking and you knew nothing about cooking, doesn’t it make sense that you would do everything possible to become as much of an expert as you possibly can on the subject?
Why, then, aren’t you doing the same thing with customers and prospects? No one is asking you to teach a class at Harvard, but given the amount of publicly-available information, it really isn’t that hard to bone up on the client’s industry.
Here are three ideas:
Scour their website and read up on what they feel is important enough to put there. Look especially for a Blog. If they have one, subscribe to it and post comments. It’s a WICKED BIG brown-nose move but feedback shows interest.
Google them or their industry. Spend some time jumping from page to page and learning what you can. You might even look into Giga Alerts as a way of getting relevant information coming to you.
If they belong to a trade association, call them and ask for help. Say that you are working with (or want to work with) one of their members and ask for background information. Believe me, they’ll help.
What happens is this (and it happens all of the time): You will be in a conversation with a client and will hear yourself repeat something that you learned in your research. It will impress the customer or prospect and shock the hell out of you at the same time. It’s like when I talk about something I read in the Wall Street Journal, I say to myself, “Did that come out of me???”
Being up to date on the goings-on in a client’s industry isn’t difficult. You will have to commit some non-selling time to this practice and, naturally, be choosy about the number and kinds of clients you research, but the pay off is a hugely improved relationship with the customer. They care that you care.
Visit my new Sales Resources page: http://sales.napl.org/sales-resources/ for last week’s Short Attention Span Webinar and a link to my blog
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