Let's get right into our topic, shall we?

To be successful, a good salesperson needs to build rapport with their customers and prospects.

If you're selling to business people, and you want to gain rock solid credibility with them, nothing builds trust faster than displaying an intimate knowledge of their industry.

But how do you do that? Especially if it's an industry you're not very familiar with?

The answer is Research!

Fortunately for us, research isn't the ordeal it used to be. Not with the internet.

Remember the library? (For those under 30 that's an old brick building we used to go to whenever we needed to get information ... even though they wanted us to keep quiet the whole time we were there).

But let's not do away with them just yet. They're still a great resource for certain kinds of information - plus, they're equipped with reference librarians who will make it there mission in life to help you if you ask them (and if all else fails - they've even got computers there).

But back to the matter at hand ... instant expert status.

So what should you do?

A great place to begin is with Associations. If you're into nostalgia, and somehow wander into your local library, go to the “Encyclopedia of Associations.” (Or, you could buy one of your own on the 'net for anywhere from $295 to $878.75.)

What you'll find is nearly any occupation or field you want information on. The Encyclopedia of Assoc's claims to have information on over 135,000 of them.

The idea is that once you see what they're publishing, you've got a 'bird's eye view' of what's happening in that trade or profession. You'll quickly get all the up-to-date information you'll ever need, written by experts in their respective fields.

With just a few hours of study you can quickly become familiar enough with nearly any topic to carry on an intelligent conversation with your prospect.

He or she will be impressed, and will be naturally inclined to trust you more then a stranger (“outsider”) from off the streets. You'll gain a competitive advantage too - that is, unless your competitor's are also doing research (they're not).

To get your research started, you can also go to http://www.ipl.org/div/browse (I thought about holding out though, in the interest of historical preservation).

Next, you can get a lot of valuable information from subject – specific encyclopedias, -- -- for example science. And to show there's one on almost any subject, there's even an 'Encyclopedia of Addictive Behavior'.

Want the facts on NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)? Gov't grants for minorities? Try the Encyclopedia of Business.

Need social, or public information? Look in the Statistical Abstracts of the United States. Doing business internationally? How about the Statistical Abstracts of the World?

Regardless of the topic, business or profession ... with just a little effort ... you can shine in your future marketing efforts. Just do a little digging, jot down information and facts, and use your knowledge to gain a HUGE advantage over your competitors!

And that's how you become an “instant” expert, on any subject!

Author's Bio: 

Virgil Stanphill is an author, a publisher, and freelance copywriter with a background in direct sales, having sold on strictly commission for more than 25 years. Get information on his book: (The Beginner's “Easiest Book in the World” for Learning How to Write Powerful Sales Letters) and his “Let's Increase Sales” newsletter at: www.LetsIncreaseSales.com