We all search for ways to keep ourselves and our brand at the top of our buyers’ minds. We want to stay in touch, but not appear tacky, self-serving or needy.
Yet so many of us hoard what we know because we think it gives us the leg up on our competitors. Not only do we limit our own acquisition of knowledge. We also limit our customers’ knowledge as well.
Shared knowledge creates value.
Often, the most valuable types of selling conversations are the ones that don’t focus on your products and services. That’s when you and your customer start connecting important business dots.
Here are three tips to get you started on your “Shared knowledge creates value” mantra. Your goal: incorporate these common sense tips into your daily sales and business habits.
If some of your potential (and current) customers seem to forget that you ever met with them, you’ll find these tips will make you their go-to resource over time.
Tip 1 – Read a whole lot more than you do right now. Read more that 140 characters at a time, too. Want to know what makes the top folks excel? They read, and not just your company’s marketing communications materials. They buy business books, and not just one a year. They read the business books, too, and not just one chapter skim-read on an airplane. They compare and contrast the authors’ perspectives. Most importantly, they think about the relevance and value of their reading. They mix and match and hybridize into their own approach to business and sales. The top folks aren’t just repeating jargon and catchy phrases. They are thinking about the significance of what they read: for their customers’ businesses first and foremost.
Tip 2 – Take lots of notes during meetings. Note-taking means that you are listening to what your customer has to say to you. Even if you have a virtual or phone conversation, you can tell your customer to repeat what they just told you because you are taking notes. Most importantly, send your prospective customer the notes you took during your meeting. Ask whether or not they are in agreement with insights and findings. When you are thinking about your conversation with the buyer, and you get them thinking about their conversation with you, your dialogue continues.
Tip 3 – Combine what you’ve read in #1 with what you discussed with the buyers in #2. Share what you’ve read and researched about their industry. Read about business practices outside of their industry vertical as well. When you cross-pollinate your approach to new business acquisition, you have the grounds for higher level business discussions.
Have the type of conversations that buyers are not anticipating from typical sales and business people. Establish your value by creating a solid foundation of knowledge-sharing.
Babette N. Ten Haken, and the Sales Aerobics for Engineers® Blog, were awarded the 2014 Bronze Medal, Top Individual Blog, by Top Sales World. Babette is a management consultant and business coach. She catalyzes startups and remodels small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams. Her book on communication and collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? Technical / Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU, is available on Amazon.com.