Obviously, as a salesperson, you have to pay close attention to capital. The value of one form of capital — intellectual capital — is often overlooked. So, how rich are you in this vital form of capital?

I can’t emphasize this enough. The era of walking into a customer and taking an order is over.  If a customer merely wants to place an order, they can do that via the web.  The role of the salesperson is to be insights and intelligence to the customer.  You’ve heard me say this before, but I believe as a salesperson we are really our customers Research and Development (R&D) Department.

It’s our job — in fact it’s our duty —  to our employer and our customers to be on the front edge of information.  The challenge, of course, is in bringing to customers the right kind of information.  How do we know what the best type of information is to bring to our customers?  It’s information that would help them achieve their strategic objectives. Naturally, this means we have to know what their strategic objectives are, and we do this by dialoguing with our customers.

In my opinion, the role of the salesperson in the years to come is going to become much more customer focused than many people would have us believe. The amount of time we spend with customers is going to continually increase.  This increase is due to the types of discussions and the level of involvement we’ll be having with our customers.  Yes, there will be some customers with whom we will have little contact, but I believe these will be few and far in between (unless your only claim-to-fame is low-price).

If, on the other hand, you’re working  to maximize the level of value the customer receives from you and the level of profit you make, then get ready to spend more time with your customer.

To help prepare you for spending more time with your customers and bringing them information they need, you will most likely have to dedicate 30 minutes a day of your time to doing nothing but research.  I can hear some of you screaming right now about how you’re never going to find 30 minutes a day.  I’m not saying I have the answer to that dilemma, but what I am saying is you had better start trying to find it. The salesperson that does the best job of being the R&D department for your customer is going to be the one who is in the best position to maximize their profit.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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