Sales and Sales Management Blog

April 4, 2008

Projecting an Expert Image


Virtually every salesperson with any experience what so ever proclaims him or herself to be an expert in their field.  Their business card, their fliers, their door hangers (if they use them), their cold calling spiel, their 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 and most are willing to pay expert prices to work with a true expert.

Yet, knowing this, most salespeople seek to attract new prospects by using methods that shout as loudly as possible that they aren’t experts.  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 deal with their assumptions as they are, not as we wish they were.

Prospects have very definite assumptions about how real experts find new business.

Prospects and clients assume that those salespeople who are cold calling, who are plastering the neighborhood with fliers or door hangers, who are burning the fax machine up with fliers, sticking cheap signs on the street corner, and who are canvassing door-to-door aren’t experts.  They aren’t experts by definition because in the eyes of prospects they aren’t working the way an expert works.  Most prospects, individuals and businesses, believe that true 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 finding and connecting with potential clients.  They do use more sophisticated methods.

And they’re wrong.  Those same top producers do use cold calling, they do use strategically faxed fliers, and they do on occasion drop-by on a cold walk-in 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 work.

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 experts.

It isn’t simply a matter that the more sophisticated methods of prospecting and marketing are more enjoyable or that they produce better results.  It’s more serious than that.  Learning to get referrals the way the mega-producers do, and to network the way they do, and to cold call the way they do, and to do the other things they do is crucial to moving away from being just another salesperson.  If your prospect views you as just another run of the mill salesperson, 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 or network engineer the world has ever seen, but if you’re cold calling prospects, you’re just another tele-marketer.  There’s nothing wrong with that–if that’s what you want to be.

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