Are you an expert or a salesman? If I was to ask any of the transportation guys I work with this question, I think most of them would answer “both.” They consider themselves expert in the services they sell.
Now consider this question: Do the prospects you engage with consider you an expert or a salesman? I think many would say my prospects view me as a salesman. This is a shame!
Being a Recognized Expert is Better
Ideally, your prospects and customers should think of you as an expert who just happens to sell. Experts are viewed as more trustworthy than sales people. Experts are above the fray, they will give professional advice even if it costs them a sale. Doctors, lawyers, accountants all sell their services, but they don’t engage as salesmen – they engage as experts.
We All Want to Buy, But Nobody Likes Being Sold
As a society, we love to buy. In our professional lives, we outsource more than ever before, yet we still don’t like it when someone is trying to sell us something. Many people will actively resist if they think somebody is being too pushy or salesy. The shields go up.
Not everybody trusts sales guys. They take everything the sales guy says with a grain of salt. Right or wrong, the perception is they can be a little fast and loose with the truth. They might exaggerate or even lie to win business. Sales people get a bum rap.
People prefer to come to their own conclusions. They want to do their own research and make an informed decision – that was not influenced by a sales gal.
So when shippers begin to research the topic, they hit Linkedin and Google and look for articles that relate to their needs or problem. They find articles written by people who they consider experts. Trust me, I write articles and people assume I am an expert. (By the way, my mom says I am an expert and very handsome too – ha ha).
So How Do You Become a Recognized Expert?
So assuming you are already an expert, how do you let other people know?
Share your expertise with the market. As an expert, you understand the problems your customers and potential customers encounter every day. You also understand the solutions that you offer. Not everybody is an expert, if you are take advantage of it.
You can share your expertise by writing articles, blog posts, videos, webinars, ebooks, webinars, conferences and speaking events to name just a few.
Experts Have Influence
When you share your expertise with the market, you will gain influence and influence will make selling a lot easier.
In his ground breaking book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini, describes the power of influence. By using certain principles, individuals can build their influence. Four of the principles are summarized below:
Reciprocation. People are more willing to comply with requests (for favors, services, information, concessions, etc.) from those who have shared such things with them. Example: When an attendee gains some valuable information or insight from your webinar, they are more likely to meet with you or be receptive to your proposal.
Authority. People are more willing to follow the directions or recommendations of a communicator to whom they attribute relevant authority or expertise. If prospects view you as an authority, there is a mental trigger that means they are more likely to follow your suggestion.
Social Validation. People are more willing to take a recommended action if they see evidence that many others, especially similar others, are taking it. An expert who shares her expertise is likely to develop a following. When prospects see this following, they will assume that you are a trusted resource. This social validation can snowball, as more and more people recognize your authority.
Liking/Friendship. People prefer to say yes to those they know and like. If people like you they are more likely to work with you. If you are generously sharing your expertise with your market, you are bound to build some relationships with prospects.
Bottom line: As you share your expertise with your market, your influence and your sales will grow.
Let Me Help You Become a Recognized Expert
I help logistics and transportation companies sell more. I can help you build your credibility, be recognized as an expert and close more sales.
I will be conducting a series of lead generation and sales training webinars. Click here for more information: 3PL Lead Generation & Sales Training (live via webinar)