Virtually every salesperson with any experience what-so-ever proclaims him or herself to be an expert in their field. Their business card, fliers, door hangers (if they use them), cold calling spiel, brochures, and everything else they have tries to communicate this expert status to prospects and clients.
Why is everyone so anxious to get the word out that they are experts and their competitors aren’t?
Simply because they recognize that prospects want to work with people who know and understand their needs. They want to work with people who are fully up-to-date on the best ways to solve the prospect’s problems. They want to work with people who know how to get problems solved in the most effective, cost efficient and advantageous manner possible. They want the best advice and best solutions in the marketplace. In other words, they want to work with an expert.
Yet, knowing this, most salespeople seek to attract new prospects by using methods that shout as loudly as possible that they aren’t the expert they claim to be.
Prospects and clients make some assumptions about salespeople. Some of their assumptions are accurate, some not. Nevertheless, whether they are accurate or not, we must face the reality of their assumptions. Moreover, they have very definite assumptions about how experts find new business.
Prospects and clients assume that those salespeople who are cold calling, plastering the neighborhood with fliers or door hangers, burning the fax machine up with fliers, sticking fliers and business cards under their windshield wipers in the Wal-Mart parking lot, and canvassing door-to-door aren’t experts. They aren’t experts by definition because in their eyes they aren’t working the way an expert works. Most prospects and clients believe that experts generate their business in far more sophisticated ways than cold calling and killing massive numbers of trees for useless fliers.
And they’re right. The top producers don’t use those methods as their primary methods of lead generation. They use more sophisticated methods.
And they’re wrong. Those same top producers do use cold calling, strategically faxed fliers, and on occasion drop-by on an in person cold call on an identified quality prospect. They just don’t do it the same way most salespeople do. They have learned to turn “lower class” prospecting methods into sophisticated prospecting methods. And their version of those methods works.
If you want to portray yourself as being an expert, you must begin weaning yourself from the average Joe marketing methods and learn the techniques and strategies of the sales superstars.
It isn’t simply a matter that the more sophisticated methods of prospecting are more enjoyable or that they produce better results. It’s more serious than that. Learning to generate referrals the way the mega-producers do instead of asking some weak referral question at the end of the sale, to network where your prospects gather instead of wasting time at the chamber networking event or the leads breakfast group, to research your prospects so you discover real issues before calling instead of making the typical, weak cold call, and to do the other things top producers do is crucial to moving away from being just another salesperson, because if your prospect doesn’t view you as an expert, then why should they use you if you don’t have the absolute best price in the market?
Being an expert is as much about how you’re perceived as what you know. You may be the greatest financial planner or Realtor the world has known, but if you’re cold calling prospects, to your prospect you’re just another tele-marketer. And there’s nothing wrong with that—if that’s what you want to be.