The old adage does have a lot of truth to it: Knowledge is power. Applied knowledge is even more power when we’re talking about your sales motivation. Whatever industry your customers are in, you should do all you can to become an expert on not only that industry, but peripheral industries as well (suppliers that work closely with your clients, etc). Obviously, it’s good to know the industry well so that you can ensure you are always able to match benefits of your product or service to the needs and wants of your customer.
Here’s another reason you may not have considered. Much business is built through conversation. In other words, the more you can participate, initiate and carry on a conversation about your client’s industry, the more your client begins to trust you. This is true regardless of whether there is a sales angle for you. Talk and get your customers talking about the ins and outs of their business. Learn about the other divisions of your customers’ businesses. Seek out information to best understand the business on a local, national and international scale. Knowledge is power, and you have the capabilities to expand your own knowledge and engage your customer to share theirs.