Selling Skills – The Importance of Product Knowledge
Have you ever been into a store to buy something only to be disappointed when it is clear none of the assistants can answer your questions simply because they do not know the products? I know I have, product knowledge or lack of it makes a huge difference between those who make the sales and those who miss out.
In fact I would have to say that an insanely important element of any sales persons skill set is their product knowledge. Without having a good understanding of what you are selling you are going to fail.
With this in mind let us take a look at practical ways in which we can build our understanding.
1) Back to the floor – Now for me personally I have always sold a service based product (mainly print related). Anytime I have joined a new business over the years I insist that they let me have two or three days actually working in the production area. Even though I have a good understanding of print I still need to know how my company operates it production area. I need insight into the quality systems, control processes and shift patterns. Understanding of the machines we run and their potential and limitations is also important. By gaining this information first hand I can take that knowledge and weave it into my sales pitch in certain knowledge that what I am saying is actually true. Why not take time to do the same in your industry. It may be that you actually are reselling someone else’s products and do not manufacture, if this is the case why not book a day and visit their site? Take time to get intimate knowledge of how your product is produced and go and see it being done. This really adds credibility to your sales presentations and you will find lots of useful facts you can benefit from.
2) Read the books – Now men in particular have a reputation for never reading manuals or instructions. They get that new piece of technology home and just plug it in, as a result they end up only using 80% of the features offered and therefore miss out. Well let’s move away from talking about men to looking at ourselves as sales professionals. Have you spent time studying the technical manuals of your products and learning how they work? If not make doing so a priority, if your products are highly technical get someone who knows to show you how it works and take notes. It is important to create a list of features and benefits as people buy benefits. What this means is that we attach a benefit to each feature. For example if the new Zoomba Microwave Mark 2 operates at a very powerful 3000 watts (feature), this means that it cooks the food that much quicker saving you lots of time (benefit).