As we all know, sales is such an interesting profession.  We interact daily with customers who are often interacting daily with our competition.  It is a wicked brew in which we partake almost daily.

Oftentimes it is our experience as the customer that leads to enlightenment in our role as sales professional.  For example, I cannot count the number of times that I have read an article or book, or researched something online and was left wanting more.  Difficult questions are not addressed or key details are left out as to not confuse the reader, leaving ME doing more research to answer my own questions.  It is like the assembly directions from IKEA - nothing but pictures, as if written instructions and detail are just too much trouble.  As society and business move more and more to this communication style, it inevitably seeps into our professional life.  We need to be vigilant to ensure we are not joining any trend that requires our customers do more, not less!

In reality our customers are more pressed for time and have more responsibility than ever.  Customers are less likely to give information, but need your insights more than ever.  So what can we do?

Our first move is to make sure the customer does understand.  Sadly, we have all heard a customer say something along the lines of, "I did not know you guys did that... or offered that product or service, so we went elsewhere."  OUCH!!!!!  The customer did not understand our capability.  We did not understand their needs.  And like a bucket of ice cold water, an opportunity is lost and the competition is in!

Being a sales professional has evolved to being a knowledge resource.   How are you providing knowledge to your customer?  Are you providing information only about you and your company, or about the broader business world in which they compete?  Are you facilitating your customers' easy access to vital information any time they need it?  This is quickly becoming the standard that we must provide.

When the customer does not understand, it is up to you to change that status.  Your job is to provide clear concise information, to expand the information they need and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.  Sales success is becoming more and more about you attaining the role of resource provider, instead of the competition, internet or somebody on YouTube.  Your skills in diagnosing your customers' understanding and information needs are critical to supporting their broader business needs and ultimately serving as their trusted advisor.