How Becoming a Trusted SME Can Boost Your Sales Ability

Hiring marketing or content marketing talent?Many people are somewhat wary of having something sold to them. Even with professional salespeople, and even when we’ve actively sought out the product or service a salesperson is offering, there is a tendency to be skeptical of what they’re telling us. After all, they are trying to get money from us. That’s why anything that can be done to boost the credibility of a salesperson is a big boon.

In an article for Entrepreneur, Lou Casale – head of communications at Hiscox USA, an insurance company – makes the case for becoming and presenting yourself as a subject matter expert to help boost your sales proficiency. “Put simply,” he writes, “I have always respected a salesperson who had the ability to teach me something. I’m not talking about a salesperson who could recite all the features and benefits of the product or service, but rather someone who presented himself or herself as a knowledgeable subject matter expert.”

Okay, great! But how does one become a subject matter expert? The first step, writes Casale, is learning everything you can about the market you’re selling to. “Attend the conferences and trade shows your customers attend,” he writes. “Read the trade journals, research reports and blogs your customers and prospects read. Follow and engage with industry influencers on social media.”

Being an expert is not enough by itself, though. Casale says it’s important to also put yourself in a position to help a customer solve a problem or meet a need. To do this, you have to put yourself in their shoes, and it may require focusing first on their need and second on your offering to gain their respect and trust.

This could even mean that when talking to a potential customer, you help them reach the conclusion that what you have to offer isn’t quite what they need. As strange as that sounds, sales is in large part about creating relationships. That sale you let go by educating a prospect could turn into a much more valuable long-term relationship down the road, because the prospect sees you as an expert who they know and can trust.

We work with consultants and other business people to help them establish themselves as thought leaders, or subject matter experts (SMEs), and we’ve written about the topic previously. One critical first step: having information or insights of value to share with a specific, targeted audience. Becoming a trusted source of information about something that really matters to an audience is foundational to your success, not only as a thought leader, but as a salesperson. (P.S. We can help!)

 

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and the competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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