Sales Professionals Thrive On Institutional Client Knowledge, Are You?Dec 13, 2020
"To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe."
Marilyn vos Savant
In my last article, you were asked the question, What are the attributes that allow you to outperform your competition?
To find your lasting competitive advantage, you must look for something your competitors cannot easily replicate or imitate.
What is your competitive advantage?
We're going to take this one step farther...
According to Tettra,
"Institutional knowledge is the combination of experiences, processes, data, expertise, values, and information possessed by company employees. It can span decades and comprise crucial trends, projects, perspectives and that define a company’s history."
Here is the sales spin...
With institutional client knowledge at their fingertips, sales professionals can better understand their client's operations and help them to make more informed decisions when it matters most.
Deep institutional client knowledge is a game changer.
We all have the ability to increase our knowledge, however; it is about how we apply the knowledge in order to help us grow.
I believe it is our ability, aspiration and aptitude to acquire the knowledge.
Institutional client knowledge is an asset, the dividends are what you do with it.
A sales professional understands that deep institutional client knowledge creates opportunities.
Professional's create opportunities for success—for themselves, their company and for their clients.
Business author Roger Von Oech said, “Things are changing quickly. What worked last week may not be the best way to solve today’s problems or the best way to take advantage of next week’s opportunities. The more we know, the more opportunities we can create."
The more you know about your clients, the more you grow with your clients.
TO KNOW IS TO GROW
Helping your clients grow is mission critical to building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
When your clients trust that they can rely on you for business growth strategies, they are more likely to invest more with you, give you a larger piece of their business and refer other organizations to you.
Building your client’s business leads to building your business.
Sales professionals intimately know their clients' business. They understand the competitive environment they operate within. They develop powerful strategies along with solutions to help them look forward so they can anticipate and prepare for new business challenges and opportunities.
They are relationship connectors. They go the extra mile by making connections for their client's with other individuals or groups within their network that could be helpful to them.
They do all this because they care.
GAIN INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE
If you want to sustain long term mutually beneficial partnerships with your clients, then learn how to become irreplaceable.
This Coco Chanel quote is spot on,
"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."
To become irreplaceable, you must understand how your clients' business makes money, and then figure out how you can connect the dots and deliver them results.
OPEN UP THE BUSINESS HOOD
Start to become well informed. Gain a deep understanding of what your clients are talking about when they share their perspectives.
Then start asking them thought provoking questions that encourages them to give you a glimpse into the good, the bad and the ugly within their company.
- What is their unique corporate sales proposition?
- What kinds of headaches are their competitors dishing out?
- What are their client's coming to them to answer?
- What do you see as potential roadblocks to your growth over the next 6 months?
Sales professionals listen, learn and ask deep questions to obtain institutional client knowledge.
Become a learn-it-all within your client's business and bring that knowledge back to them.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT
Start bringing new elements to your client’s business. Become objective and forward thinking. Help them see new paths or roadblocks that they might otherwise miss because they’re so entrenched in their business weeds.
Sales professionals keep themselves informed about what’s happening within their client's industry and build monumental amounts of knowledge, way beyond their client's expectations.
They do this to be able to identify areas of opportunity that they may have overlooked or to help them avoid pitfalls simply by staying a step ahead.
Are you a proactive sales professional or a reactive sales rep?
Aristotle famously wrote,
"The more you know, the more you realize you don't know."
Now, think about this statement for a moment...
Who is gathering more internal information about your clients, you or one of your competitors? Would you even know? And worse, would someone even tell you?
INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
How can you apply institutional knowledge to build, grow and enhance your client relationships?
How can you become an integral part of your client's business?
How can you become irreplaceable?
As you look into your sales future, what can you do and what will you do to future proof your sales career?