Being perceived as an expert in your field is the biggest step you can take in building likeliness and trust with whomever it is you are having a discussion, whether that would be a stranger or a potential customer. In business, being an expert instantly elevates you in the eyes of potential customers and increases significantly your chances of closing a deal with them. People prefer to do business with experts in their respective fields.
Here it is, simple and broken down so it can easily be understood. Remember that as Albert Einstein said “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself”. Most of the times when we are trying to explain this, I have seen coaches use graphs, and Venn diagrams, and X-Y axis, which makes it all so complicated. Here is my take on this, in my simplified view of it. Being perceived as an expert, means that you can show experience and knowledge in four areas:
Industry knowledge: You need to know your industry and stay on top of it. Industry knowledge means you need to be aware of companies’ plans, merges, government policies, and every parameter that can have an impact on the industry. Do this by simply watching news, getting insider information and be informed on new policies that are being discussed about.
Market knowledge: This is different to industry knowledge. Market knowledge has to do with buying behaviour and trends. You need to be informed on what sells and what doesn’t, what is it that customers are looking for in the market place, and anticipate future changing trends. To do that, you need to monitor sales, get your hands on reports, and have extensive market research methods.
Product knowledge: This means that you are fully aware of every feature of the product, the fine printing, the details, like the back of your hand. You have spent time with the product and you can explain everything about it even with closed eyes. With today’s products though, and the fact that all products now are roughly the same, this has lost it’s position as the most important aspect to help in being perceived as an expert in your field.
Customer knowledge: The last, and to me most important, is customer knowledge. You need to demonstrate an extensive knowledge that you understand, feel and can relate to the problems that the customers might be having. You need to be clear that you can be a solution to their problem, because you have either seen this before, or because you have been there before yourself. Know your customers, their needs, wants, pains, concerns and what it is that they are looking for.
A lot of the sales training programmes I have attended, place great emphasis on only two of the four categories I have listed above. They use the old school selling system which some gurus in the 1900s invented, meaning that they focus only on Market knowledge and Product knowledge. Unfortunately as the years pass us by a lot of these sales concepts need to go. In 2020 we have seen companies merging, sharing resources and products being identical to one another, so these cannot be used as the differentiating factors that will set you apart as an expert.
To my experience and knowledge, the most important of the four categories is the last one, that nobody ever touches on. Yes, I am an expert and the customer sees me that way because I can look them in the eye and say “I understand your concerns”, or that “I have seen this case before, and here is how we could handle it”. Instantly you have positioned yourself as the expert in their minds, and they will be more open to suggestions that you will make towards solving their problems. Compile that with some industry secrets, and future market predictions, and they will get any product you see fit for solving their problem.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you have found this topic useful and helpful. All comments and feedback are welcomed, so feel free to leave yours below.