I have long believed the best sales people are renaissance men and women. They are prodigious learners, with an intense intellectual curiosity. The have wide, deep, robust knowledge in a myriad of fields and interests.
Renaissance sales people leverage their broad intellectual knowledge to solve problems, dissect complex challenges and create opportunities. Their broad knowledge is a force multiplier.
Recently, I watched two sales people address an “stuck” opportunity with an online invitation company. The invitation company was struggling to see the value in my clients offering. Each sales person shared their thoughts in how we could get the deal unstuck. Here’s what happened.
The first sales person, smart, articulate, and driven, lacked any understanding of how companies like this earned their revenue and more importantly how that business model worked and what was important to success. Therefore, their suggestions focused on “yelling louder,” in other words, telling them more about the product, and ask questions about “why” they didn’t see value. The first sales person lacked the knowledge to go deep and see things from the customers point of view.
The second sales person happened to have a fairly decent understanding of the type of business model the invitation company had. They understood how the invitation company made their money AND they understood the challenges of that type of revenue model. The sales person was very well versed in online marketing, banner advertising, pay per click revenue streams etc. Although it was NOT the field they played in. It was not a criticial element of his profession, yet they possessed the knowledge. This sales person was a prodigious reader, they are deliberate learner. This sales person knows a LOT about a LOT of things. This knowledge helped him identify an entirely different set of questions and approaches to addressing the invitation companies objection and inability to see the value of his company’s service.
Knowledge is critical in selling. They more you know, about more things, the more value you will bring to your prospects and customers. Having deep and solid knowledge about your products and services is good. Having robust knowledge about your industry and your product is even better. But, having a deep knowledge about your products and services, your industry AND a shit load of other stuff, across a myriad of topics, interests and fields is GOLD!!!
The best sales people are renaissance people, they know a lot about a lot and bring it to the table when selling.
Start reading for 30 minutes in the a.m. and for 30 minutes in the evening — at least. Read non-fiction, subscribe to blogs and start a Feedly reading list across a myriad of topics, science, art, business, psychology, sociology, technology and more. Read, read, read, and read some more. The key is to be constantly learning. Grow your knowledge base and develop a powerful database of facts and information in your head, so at any given time you can teach your prospects and customers something they didn’t know, something that could improve their business or make better buying decisions.