We’ve all heard the sayings, “knowledge is power” and “the one with the most data wins”. Well, not only is that true, but in today’s world it’s critical to your success. In order to achieve that ultra level of success and truly be a Difference Maker, one must know their customer better than anyone—and in some cases know them better than they know themselves.
While we can go on and on and on about asking questions and “interviewing” prospects and customers, there are ways to learn more about them without “grilling” them. For instance, what can you learn about your customer’s business? Are there trade magazines your clients read? If so, the next time you call on one and see a copy of “Underwater Basket Weaving Monthly”, ask if you can have a copy. There is always a subscription card for you to get your own copies in the future. Know what your customers know—read what they read. Understand their industry and what challenges they face and you will automatically begin to be able to fill needs easier and better than your competition.
What about trade shows? What trade shows do your customers’ attend? Is it worth going as an exhibitor or just as a guest? Perhaps. If you’re selling medical supplies, find out what trade shows or conventions are held for the industry and be there. You can learn a lot and meet a lot of potential clients there. (I know this one sounds basic, but you would not believe the number of salespeople that COMPLETELY miss this opportunity)
Are there Associations you can join as an Associate Member or Supporting Member? If there is a National Association of Underwater Basket Weavers, you should find out about Associate Membership and how it can help you stay connected with what’s important to your customer.
Finally, what online blogs, websites and newsletters come to your customer? Do an online search for the industry and see what’s out there. You’ll be surprised at some of the specialized content available—and much of it is free.
Use these few tips and you’ll be well on your way to knowing your customer better than the competition knows them.
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