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Clients Buy the Expert!

The age of the generalist is gone. Sell more by narrowing your offerings. It works.

by Joanne Black

For some salespeople, specifically describing their Ideal Client feels confining; as if they’re leaving good business on the table. We often think that if we don’t mention everything we offer, we’ll miss a sale. The opposite is true. The more specific we are, the more quickly we become known as the expert in a particular industry or discipline.

Be the Expert
Clients buy expertise, not one-size-fits-all. If and when they decide to spend money, they choose the company that delivers results. Basically, they are accountable, and their job is on the line. So clearly describe your work and the results that clients attain. Be specific, targeted, and concise, and clients will seek you out.

Define Your Ideal Client
How do you gain a reputation for your expertise? Create a crisp profile of your Ideal Client so people understand exactly who you want to meet. These Ideal Clients are those you want to serve and the ones you will bend head over heels for. Think of yourself as a sketch artist: the more color, lines, and detail you present, the easier it will be for others to recognize and identify with your Ideal Client and refer them to you.

When it comes to clients, quality trumps quantity. Get and keep the right clients—those who produce the revenue and profits you want, and refer us readily to others just like themselves. You are no longer the generalist. Your reputation as an expert precedes you. Soon, fewer qualified leads translate to more clients and more profitable business.

Your biggest challenge will be following up on all your great leads. Be the expert!

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7 Responses to Clients Buy the Expert!

  1. We agree with this but wonder if there is data and evidence to support these pronouncements.

    The promise of “no more cold calling” seems false — but a nice wish. The inbound marketing sellers claim the same — if only.

    • The promise of referrals is accurate. When salespeople receive a referral introduction, they are pre-sold, earn trust, shorten their sales process, reduce the cost of sales, and convert a sales prospect to a client more than 50 percent of the time.

      Compare referral techniques to any other sales or marketing strategy. As an example: Cold Calling–make 100 dials, talk to 15-20 people, set 5-6 appointments, and perhaps close one deal. What a waste of time!

      Salespeople can spend their business-development time talking to sales prospects who aren’t qualified, or receive a referral introduction to their Ideal Client.

      The choice is easy.

  2. Ray Collis says:

    Joanne, you have laid down quite a challenge to all of us salespeople, to convincingly command the title ‘expert’ instead of just ‘salesperson’. That is because it is experts that buyers want to meet and want to buy from – that is clear from our extensitve research with buyers for our new book The B2B Sales Revolution.

    With that in mind, here is the test: In the hours after your first sales meeting with a prospective client, does the client think of you as:

    a) A salesperson who tried to sell something to them, or
    b) An expert who had very interesting information and insights to share?

    There is a psychological advantage attached to being seen as an expert. Salespeople begin to walk taller and also begin to act a little different. Buyers begin to act differently too, opening doors, engaging more, listening more and trusting more. In short experts outsell salespeople all the time.

    • Hi Ray:

      Salespeople have gotten a bad rap over the years. Some of it is deserved–when salespeople pitch product and don’t take the time to attend to the needs of their prospects.

      You are absolutely correct with your two questions. Good salespeople have always been viewed as contributing to their clients.

      Thanks for reinforcing the fact that “sales” is not about “selling.”

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