Every time you’re with a customer, make a point to learn something personal and professional about them. Don’t allow your time together to be so focused on the immediate business opportunity that you forget to gather some additional information. The key is to find out from the customer what I refer to as “proprietary information.” This is information that is not known publicly, and when known, gives you a much greater chance of having a profitable relationship with them. It’s this data that will help you not only serve the customer in the short-term, but be able to establish a long-term, profitable relationship. This is a key element of consultative selling. On numerous occasions, I’ve found that the level of profitability a salesperson is able to obtain with a customer is in direct relationship with the level of information known about them.