You might have heard someone say knowledge is power. Knowledge is most certainly power in sales. Here’s the knowledge you need to acquire to get your power in sales.
What do you know about yourself and your work in sales?
One of the questions I ask when I work with salespeople on their selling strategy is “Tell me about your competition.” It’s a big red flag when they either say they don’t have competition or they don’t know a great deal about their competitors.
Do you know what competitive products your customers uses? Take a plant tour of your customer’s facility. Notice which competitor’s products you see. Ask your customer what they think of the competitor’s product and sales performance. Knowing how well liked your competitor is a clue to how vulnerable you are to possibly losing business. You are less likely to be replaced when your customer is not a big fan of your competitor.
Even if you think you have no known competitors, your customer does have the option of not buying your product. A customer no longer buys any products to run the line if the company shuts a production line down. Other situations force customers’ buying habits to change. No one could have predicted the pandemic. Yet thinking about the unknowns that could impact your business is useful knowledge so you have a plan to react if it happens.
What is wasting your time? Do you know?
I recently worked with a client on a group project. Before we could begin work, the knowledge we needed was a process for our decision making. A good process will determine the success or failure of your work. A good process more than likely will result in a successful project. A poor process more than likely will cause the project to fail.
Here’s how to develop your process. Consider what work needs to be done, who needs to be involved, what resources you need, how the process can be improved, and anything else to ensure the success of the process and the project. Present your process to the group before the group starts working on the project.
How do you know if the process is a success? You see that it doesn’t break down and you don’t have a lot of rework. Unfortunately for this client, either this manager didn’t take the time first to develop his process or he created a very poor process filled with wrong data, late data, changing requirements and the resulting rework for the group happened. I was not pleased.
Rework in sales is a big waste of time. Where is your sales process breaking down and causing you to do rework? Are you rewriting proposals? Are you uncovering key decision makers late in your sales process? You need to have knowledge of what wastes your selling time and work to eliminate it.
Knowledge does give you power in sales, though it isn’t enough. Without intelligence, or the ability to apply that knowledge, you’ll come up empty in sales.