I took a black “Checker” cab through the city of London. Unlike New York, the driver spoke perfect English, well British English, but perfect English. And he drove the cab with tremendous pride. His pride was founded in his hard work, his studies, his accomplishment, and his expertise of the city. No GPS, no Google maps…
The driver had The Knowledge.
The knowledge takes approximately three-five years to learn the 25,000 windy streets in London. It's the hardest geography test in the world. Drivers need to memorize 320 different runs, and that's just the foundation. They need to know every road, every location, every right (and left) turn and every possible destination in central London.
The same strategy applies to sales. Your sales.
Got the knowledge?
While you may not be studying for 3 to 5 years before you step foot into your role, you do need lots of knowledge…
- Sales knowledge
- Customer knowledge
- Company knowledge
- Industry and marketplace knowledge
- Competition knowledge
What are you studying? How long are you studying it for? Have you/would you dedicate yourself to your sales expertise for the next 3 to 5 years and spend multiple hours a day learning everything that you could to be the best that you could possibly be? London taxi drivers who study the knowledge say that it takes over your brain. Because they are always thinking about it, and because they always want to improve. How are your sales studies? How dedicated are you to achieving sales knowledge that leads to sales success and your personal wealth?
Here's the most important part about the sales knowledge: Sales Knowledge must be in terms of the customer. How they benefit and profit from your product or service. How they produce more. The customer doesn't care about all of your features and benefits. They only care about how and if your product or service will help them, how it will help them earn more, how it will help them be more efficient or more effective, or have lower turnover. In short, how it will help them succeed.
When you're with your customer, what kind of sales-helpful knowledge do you uncover from them?
- Do you ask questions that uncover their needs in an emotionally engaging way?
- Do you uncover the customer’s reason for buying?
- What’s the emotion behind their purchase decision?
- Do you uncover how your product or service helps them profit and succeed?
- Think about this: if you were in the customer’s shoes, would you buy from you? Why?
Your Company Knowledge
- What’s the history (if any) of the customer with your company?
- What kind of track record does your company have helping similar customers?
- How will your company deliver on your promises?
- What kind of service does your company provide after the sale?
- What happens if something goes wrong? How will your company recover?
Industry and Marketplace Knowledge
- What's going on in the market or the industry that could make or break your sale? Hint: Think funding. Think rules or regulations. Think economy. Think election.
- Are there technological advances that you should be taking advantage of?
- Is the market growing, stagnant or going down?
- Who are the market leaders? What are they doing different or better?
- What is the opportunity? What will change it? How can you affect it?
- What does your competitor offer, and what makes you better?
- Why should the customer buy from and continue to work with you?
- How does the customer win by working with you instead of your competition?
Let's take one more lesson from London cab drivers.
Besides their London knowledge, most of them possess the following service-based attributes:
- They love what they do.
- They love to serve
- They have a passion for their job.
- They have the desire to study and get better every day.
- They are dedicated to their craft
- They are proud of their accomplishments and their job
Measure yourself on those attributes. How do you stand?
The question for you is: how bad do you want to succeed at sales and life? How much time are you going to dedicate each day to studying your trade and your profession? What can you stop doing right now to make time for more studying, more learning, more knowledge?
How is your dedication to learn more on a scale of 1–100? Your passion? Your desire to serve?
Gaining this knowledge takes time. It’s a day-by-day process. It’s like learning a new language. You gain new vocabulary each day, and at the end of the week you can start making better sentences.
Day by day you become fluent. Your job is to become sales fluent and customer fluent.
A word of caution: There are no shortcuts. Don’t go the wrong way down a one-way street. Technology, like GPS and apps, like Uber and Lyft, question and mitigate the need for a cab driver’s geography knowledge. They put you to sleep. Make sure you are keeping up with the times and using technology to your advantage, and don’t take the wrong route. It may lead you to a dead end.
Jennifer Gluckow blogs regularly at Sales In A New York Minute.
©2017 Jennifer Gluckow and Sales in a New York Minute