Know your Customer – The Sales Version (Part II in the Intersection of Sales and Diligence Series)

You’ve heard about KYC or Know your Customer in the banking industry.  It’s part of regulations ensuring that banks know who they are doing business as part of their anti-money laundering requirements.  In sales, knowing your customer is key to understanding their needs so you can tailor the product or service offering to meet them.  Diligence focuses on quality over quantity.  A common sales method is to use leads lists based on certain criteria, whether that be industry, region, company function, etc.  But targeting your customers this way is like a shot in the dark, and requires continual, clear and concise marketing to get through to them.  If you want to bring your customer value, then you want to do some diligence and understand who they are.  Starting with your existing customer list, you can find other customers with the same type of business profile.  Because you already have a relationship with an existing customer, you already have an “in” with prospects.  It just takes some diligence on your part.

A good way to find this out is by researching publicly available data with the secretary of state.  This will tell you who owns the business and who the other officers are with the company.  This is important to know because this allows you to expand your network of prospects.  For example, your customer and all their related businesses and business partners are first degree contacts.  But, any other businesses or people related to partners are a second degree connection and are still relevant due to your relationship with your customer.  So the customer diligence on your part has just expanded your list of prospects, without having to buy a leads list of prospects that you have no relationship with.

Diligence on your current customer base is not meant to replace every sales method in your repertoire.  It’s still important to do all those things.  However, doing your diligence and starting with who you know first might be a little easier since building on relationship and connection is what sales is all about.

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