There’s so much written now about how the imbalance of power between buyer and seller in the past was due to the fact that the seller had more information. Allegedly, because of the free flow of information on the Internet, your clients are now equal when it comes to information. You are to assume that they have equal knowledge—or maybe even more.
If your clients or prospects know as much about what you sell as you do, it’s your own damn fault. It also means you aren’t worth buying from.
Subject Matter Expert
Who is supposed to be the subject matter expert when it comes to what you sell and the outcomes that you produce?
In the old days, the imbalance of knowledge was an imbalance of power. Because you knew more, you could use that information to your advantage as a salesperson. Today, if your on the losing end of an imbalance when it comes to subject matter expertise and knowledge, you’re useless to your clients and your dream clients (prospects).
Why on earth would you know so little that your clients know as much as you? Think this through for a minute.
Your client works only for their company. Their only experience with whatever it is you sell is through that lens. You, on the other hand, work with many clients. You have the knowledge and the experience of making whatever it is you sell work in dozens—maybe hundreds—of companies.
Your client makes the decision to buy what you sell maybe once a year. Some buy what you sell once every three or more years. You help dozens and dozens of companies make the decision to buy, and you help them produce results. Which of you should know more?
They Think You’re Supposed to Have Knowledge
If you want to be a strategic asset for your clients you’ll need to help them see around corners. If you want to be a trusted advisor, then you’ll need to be someone with the deep situational knowledge and subject matter expertise to be able to offer advise worth taking.
My experience tells me that many salespeople do have much, much more knowledge and that there is still a huge imbalance—as it should be. When I speak with clients they explain that they are too busy trying to keep up with the changes in their own industry to study a second industry. That’s why they’re careful in how they select salespeople; they’re not hiring a salesperson but are instead adding someone to their management team.
You’re supposed to have more knowledge than your clients about what you sell. If you don’t, you’re letting them down.
Are you a subject matter expert in your industry?
If there is an imbalance when it comes to information, is it in your favor of your client’s?
Why is it imperative that you know more than your clients?
How does your outsized knowledge benefit your clients?