Businesses have found over the past nine weeks during the pandemic, that many of their customers have disappeared. Many still exist, but they have been putting buying decisions on hold.

Those customers that have tried to remain operational are turning to experts and to those salespeople that can offer that something extra and helpful. Those salespeople are now pleased that they had established and positioned themselves as trusted advisors in the minds of their customers.

So how do your customers view you?

Do they just place orders with you and view you as an order taker? Or do they view you as preeminent, someone that they can turn to for all manner of insights, recommendations, and solutions? A trusted advisor.

From the customer’s point of view, there are three types of sales relationships that they have with their suppliers.

Salesperson 1 – The Order Taker

I believe that 80% of salespeople are order takers. In tough times they are very vulnerable. If the customer views you as a mere order taker, then price sensitivity will be very high. The customer loyalty to you and your products and services is low.

The price will be the deciding buying factor, and they will bombard you with price objections and tell you that they can “get it cheaper” elsewhere.

Salesperson 2 – The Value Added Salesperson

In my opinion, they make up 15% of salespeople. With training and a good attitude, a few order takers will develop into this valuable sales professional.

Their clients value these sales professionals. You are there for your customers, and you add value by helping your customers with more than what is expected.

You’re very responsive. Your relationship and rapport skills are good. You bend over backwards for your customers and can provide additional extras and value at no or minimal cost.

You are still viewed as a sales vendor, but you are one that is near the top of the list.

You are proud of this status, but there is an even higher sales summit to conquer.

Salesperson 3 – The Trusted Advisor

These are the unique people in the top 5% of the industry in which they serve. This is the ultimate position for a sales professional.

The customer views you as an extension to their business and even a part of their business. They trust you explicitly.

Typically, you can offer higher prices because you deliver insight, value, and solutions. The client often calls you to explore and discuss ideas. The trust your opinion and recommendations.

You are preeminent. You stand above all other suppliers. You even place your client’s needs above the needs of your own business. These clients, more often than not, don’t even bother dealing with other suppliers in your industry. The client rewards you considerably with loyalty and support.

Make a list of some of your customers. Honestly, review where you stand with each. You can be at different stages with different customers. Then work on the mindset, skillset, and toolset to get into the elite 5%.

Think about how you can move up the professional sales ladder now and in the future. The trusted advisor status is the goal of goals. You are at the top of your industry.