The Year of the Expert and The Information Sale

I used the phrase, “information sale” in a post a while back. I’ve been thinking about that term for quite a while now. It’s really been on my mind. The information sale is the idea that selling happens when the client or prospect is being educated. It’s when the sales person is using information to teach the prospect or customer something they didn’t know. Information selling has been around for a long time. However, it hasn’t been critical to the selling process. It’s been primarily the secret weapon of the most successful sales people. For the good and average sales people, it hasn’t been used. Until now!

Information selling is quickly becoming a must. It’s no longer a secret weapon of great sales people. Customers and clients are busy. They won’t give up their time for a “pitch.” They don’t want to do the work themselves. They don’t want to add anything else to their plate. They want sales people to bring a lot more to the table than just a “pitch.”

What makes information selling interesting is it requires a tremendous amount of information. Sales people have to know more than just their product.  They have to be experts and or at least very knowledgable in all of these things;

  1. The industry –What’s coming down the pike, what works and why, what is influencing the market and why? What is becoming obsolete and why? What are the industry standards, where are they going? What are companies and organizations looking to get from investing in the space/product? Sales people have to know all this and be the industry experts, sharing their vision and knowledge with their clients and prospects.
  2. Workflow – Sales people have to understand how their customers and prospects business flow and how they get things done. They have to understand the general business process. Sales people need to understand “how” their customers and prospects do their business and how their product or service will affect their business.
  3. Product Impact- I used impact and not value proposition on purpose. Product impact knowledge goes beyond value proposition knowledge, it’s knowing how your product will effect the overall business of your customers and prospects. Will the product cause big disruptions or little disruptions. How much change does it create? Who is impacted, negatively and positively? What is the ripple affect? How does it affect work flow, business process, the user experience, the customer experience, etc. Value proposition is important, but it’s myopic. Our products and services have broader impact to an organization. Knowing what that is, is critical.
To do all this, sales people have to be experts. To be good at the information sell, sales people have to know a lot. They have to be part product expert, part business guru/consultant, part market executive, and part finance genius.
This is the year of the expert sales person. The days of product knowledge as the key to sales is coming to an end. Sales people have teach, educate and inform their prospects and clients. Providing product specs with a strong value proposition and then leaving it up to the customer to figure the rest out isn’t going to work much longer. Sales people have to go all the way and that takes an expert.
Are you an expert?
How many experts do you have on your team?


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