You have a big call, and you don’t have the subject matter or technical expertise you need to create value on the sales call. So you invite a subject matter expert to join you on the call so they can have the conversation and handle the questions that you can’t yet handle.
Bringing a subject matter expert on sales calls is a good idea. Up to a point. At some point, it’s a weakness and a real problem.
You aren’t a marriage broker. A salesperson’s role isn’t simply to bring two people to together to see if there is a fit. You are a value creator.
Are You a Dependent?
If you depend on a subject matter expert to make your sales calls, you are a dependent. This dependence is a problem.
If the only value you bring to your client is arranging to bring a person from your company who can create the value that you can’t, you aren’t creating enough value to be consultative.
You can’t be a trusted advisor without trust, and you can’t be trusted advisor with the advice. By abdicating your responsibility to know enough to create value in every sales interaction with your dream client, you bring too little to develop a real relationship. Not knowing enough about what you do, how you do it, and why it matters doesn’t create a preference for you nor does it create a competitive advantage.
Get Smart Fast
You can get smarter. Every time you take a subject matter expert on a sales call with you, write down the statements they make so you can study them. Write down the questions that your prospective client asks and your SME’s response.
When you leave the meeting, review what your SME said, the customer’s questions, and their answers. Ask them why they said what they said. Ask them to share their thought process to deepen your understanding of their area of expertise.
You may never have the same level of expertise as your subject matter expert, and you don’t need to. However, you ought to be able to make people believe you are a subject matter expert in your own right.
And if you can’t do a web demo, you likely have learned helplessness. If you wanted to, you could learn to do it in a couple of hours.
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Filed under: Sales