Today’s post is the second in a series I’m doing on sales secrets that have proven successful for me over my tenure in sales and sales leadership. In case you missed the first one, here’s the link, “Turn News into Sales.” Today, we’ll look at how to leverage industry insights to get the inside edge over your competition.
In my opinion, if you can know only one thing when you meet with a prospect, know about their industry. Hands down!
Why? Because it makes you sound intelligent and sets you apart from 99% of the other salespeople out there. Understanding something about your prospect’s industry, key drivers, and potential risks, enables you to relate to their world and demonstrates that you cared enough to do your homework.
I’m not talking about trying to be an expert. You’ll almost certainly fall on your face if you act like you know as much as they do about their industry. I’m talking about learning enough to ask intelligent questions and use the right terminology. For example, if you’re meeting with an insurance company and you talk about salespeople, you’re demonstrating that you don’t know much about their world. They call “sellers” producers. You need to know that and speak their language.
Not knowing about their industry is like visiting a foreign country and knowing nothing about the country or its culture.
How do I use industry insights?
In addition to speaking their language, I use industry insights as a priceless icebreaker. Imagine this scenario. You’re about to call on Vikram Beri, Business Head at Harley Davidson, and you come across an article about the growing trend of women riding motorcycles, while doing your industry research. After you greet, you mention to Mr. Beri that you just read about this trend and ask, “How is this affecting your business? Or is it just an urban legend?” You can bet you’ll grab his attention and get him to open up.
Another example would be if you were meeting with an electrical engineering firm. With little time to prepare, you read through an industry profile and learn that copper is an essential resource and the price of copper is skyrocketing. You walk into your meeting and mention that you’ve just read about the rising cost of copper and ask how it’s impacting your buyer’s business. They’ll be impressed that you know about the importance of copper to their industry and you’ll earn instant credibility, forging a trusting and likely profitable relationship from that moment on.
Now imagine how differently those meetings would have gone had you walked in and said, “Tell me about your business.” Asking that, without first showing you know something about their business, is like wearing a sign that says, “I didn’t do my homework.”
Where can you find industry insights?
You can learn about industries by doing online research and reading trade publications or, better yet, you can embed industry insights directly into your CRM with our sales intelligence solution, InsideView Insights.
We vet the industry profiles for you and make them easily accessible within your account and opportunity records or wherever you browse on the internet. Doing research on a company website? You can access InsideView industry insights there with the browser extension. Looking for contacts on LinkedIn? You can access industry insights on a LinkedIn profile, as well. You’ll find industry codes, an industry overview, challenges, trends, sizing information, and a favorite of mine, call prep questions.
If you take the time to read these insights before your next call, you’ll have that sought-after strategic advantage over the other 99 percent of people who just walk in and say, “Tell me about your business.”