What do you bring to the table? The more you specialise in an industry, the better sense you will have of the problems and opportunities that can be uncovered.

Approach the account with: ‘In this type of business, it often happens that this situation arises. Is that the case here?’

How would you react to being referred to a Harley Street doctor who claimed to be a leading authority on orthopaedics, gynaecology and ophthalmology? You’d run a mile from such obvious quackery. It’s just not possible to be a master of all those disciplines.

Such a scenario is ridiculous, but salespeople often miss the underlying point. If you try to be all things to all people, you will be nothing to no one. Instead close your iris down – be brilliant at the one subject closest to the customer’s heart – their business.

The biggest complaint customers have about salespeople is that they seem to know nothing about their business, nor do they attempt to learn much. The highest compliment your customer can pay you is, ‘You understand our business.’ That means they regard you as a partner, not just as a mere vendor.

Frequently a potential customer will test your knowledge early in a meeting. He will ask you what you know about his industry or about some aspect that is currently concerning him. He wants to be reassured that you know what you’re talking about and you are the sort of person he wants to do business with.

Don’t disappoint him! This is your opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. Whenever you are tested, rise to the challenge and establish your credibility and knowledge. It’s your entry to the sale.

Present NEW knowledge

So when you stand in front of an important customer, you must present new knowledge about improving their business. This leads us to a question that provides real insight into what’s required to outsell your competition in today’ market. Get it right and you will catapult yourself into the top 10 per cent of sellers.

■ Would your customer still hire you as a consultant if you no longer had your product or service to sell?

At LDL we believe that this question, more than anything else, captures the essence of modern consultative-partner selling. The answer clearly reveals whether you are a resource to the customer or merely a person who sells.

Take this on board. Work at it and I guarantee you will accelerate your achievement. Nothing, but nothing, will provide you with better insurance against turbulent markets and the ever-present threat of new competitors entering your market.

Check out The New Professional Selling Skills and Key Account Management.

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