About a year and a half ago, I wrote that clients don’t want to deal with salespeople anymore; they want to work with someone who will be their expert, advisor and resource. Someone who can save them time and make their life easier, because if there’s one thing not a single one of your clients wants: they DO NOT want to be an expert on what it is that you do. That’s what they have you for.

In today’s competitive marketplace, companies are finding it harder and harder to raise prices. More and more salespeople find themselves trying to compete on price. The best way to get off that “Merry-go-round to nowhere” is to create and deliver so much extra value to your clients, that you become indispensable to them, regardless of price.Here are four things you need to do to set yourself up as an indispensable expert, advisor and resource.

1. Acts as an advocate and point person for your client.

Rather than asking your clients to navigate their way through the customer service jungle or bureaucratic maze, a great expert, advisor and resource is the only person a client should ever have to speak to. One of the main reasons I prefer to buy insurance through an agent rather than the internet or an 800 number, is I never have to handle my problems alone. I don’t have to speak to a different person each time I call and tell the same story over and over. I call one person; tell him the problem; he solves it and lets me know what happened or what I have to do. How much is that worth?

2. Not only sells the product or service but advises the client on how to best use the product or service. A salesperson sells “stuff.” An expert, advisor and resource does her homework. She learns the client’s business; understands the client’s needs and sells a product or service that’s so right for the client, the client has no choice but to keep coming back for more. What do you think is harder to find: someone who sells “stuff,” or someone who will consistently fill your needs? A salesperson’s goal is to make a sale. An expert, advisor and resource’s goal is to develop a long-term client relationship.

3. Advises the client on different ways to increase or grow their business. If your clients’ businesses grow, they’ll have more money to buy the kind of products and services you offer. If your clients’ businesses grow because of your advice and input, they’ll buy those products and services from you. Remember, if you’re selling to small businesses, most of them, for example, don’t have a marketing or IT department. You can be that marketing or IT department for them. Large companies have gone through so much downsizing and restructuring in the last 10 years that your client contact might be so busy doing the job of 3 or 4 people he or she doesn’t have the time to keep up with everything happening in your industry. That’s where you come in.

4. Acts as a resource for the client with the ability to answer all questions or know someone who can. The best expert, advisor and resource is not necessarily someone who has all the answers, but always knows someone who does. With more choices and information than ever, it’s easy for clients to get confused. If you can take that information organize it, act upon it and deliver it to your clients in a way that they can understand and implement it quickly and easily you have made yourself indispensable.

Copyright 2004 Warren Greshes
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