‘Know thyself’ – a motto made popular by the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, is universally considered to be a guide to mindful living and successful life. It rests on the bedrock of that fundamental condition for real achievement – knowledge. ‘Knowledge is Power’ is an aphorism that has been sounded since the beginning of time. We all intrinsically understand it and appreciate it. Yet, how many of us actually cultivate and use it? In life and at work?
Eloquence, charisma, glib talk, strongly-worded sales pitch, are all great add-ons, and sparkling veneers. The glue that holds them together, is knowledge, and only knowledge. The sparkle must necessarily reveal the core, which is the substance of deep knowledge and understanding of the product, service or philosophy that one is promoting or selling.
Studies carried out by Harvard Business Review identified several characteristics associated with success in selling new products, predominant among which was product knowledge.
Sales personnel are the frontline warriors driving the sales of a business to achieve the goals set by the organization.
The first and most important arrow in his armory is the level and depth of the knowledge of the product or service that he is selling. It must be an arrow that has heft and is sharp. Only then can he reach his target.
Now let us examine why and how Product Knowledge is the first and most vital step to achieving success.
Table of Contents
This trait is easily discerned by a potential client when the salesperson presents his product with passion, has the competence to answer the client’s queries, and can guide and direct him towards a choice or decision. This is particularly relevant when the product is complex, and the audience is knowledgeable and aware of current trends in the industry.
Deep product knowledge translates to rock-solid confidence. This quality is apparent in the salesperson’s fluency and ease of communication with the client, the clarity regarding the product’s value, and how it can benefit the customer. Confidence begets confidence. The salesperson having won over the confidence of the client, can now consider cross-selling or even upselling to further achieve business goals, knowing that he has a keen and interested audience.
Communication vs Talking
Often, salespersons resort to talking about the features of the product, extolling them to high heaven in a bid to impress the potential client, little realizing that it becomes a one-way street instead of bi-directional communication. Communication happens when the salesperson explains the benefits of the product, compellingly and accurately, thus encouraging questions and showing the light with answers. That is sound product knowledge. Here are some tips on how to turn product features into benefits that the client will appreciate:
Enthusiasm rubs off on the audience and generates excitement. The most potent form of this quality is the one that emanates from belief, and belief emanates from knowledge.
Troubleshooting and Countering Objections
The more the knowledge about the product, the problems around the product, customization provisions, case studies, real-life scenarios, competitors’ products, the more easily and smartly will the salesperson be able to tackle queries and objections.
A 360 degree understanding of the product will enable the salesperson to present the same product in different ways to different clients based on their requirements. The salesperson can also adapt the sales presentation (pitch) accordingly.
Adoption and Retention
Knowledgeable salespersons help and train the customers to use the new product, enable quick adoption and support throughout the lifetime of usage.
Ultimately, isn’t that the objective? Dillard’s Inc., an American luxury department store chain, found that each hour their associates spent on online product training increased their sale rate by a remarkable 5 %.
And finally, according to Experticity’s research, 73% of consumers say product knowledge is what they need most from salespeople. And businesses exist to serve the customer!
So, if you want your company, its products, and its representatives to be viewed as credible, competent, trustworthy and reliable in the long run, commit to training your associates on Product knowhow, along with Sales and Management training interventions. Then watch them target and achieve those business goals with aplomb!
So how does one develop product knowledge? While we will cover this in detail in upcoming blogs, along with product knowledge training, customer service training, customer retention training, and technical training, among others, here’s some food for thought.
- Knowing the fundamentals
- Understanding the need
- Applying it to customer benefits
- Getting hands-on experience
- Playing roles
- Making product knowledge training structured and accessible
- Testing employee knowledge with targeted assessments
In today’s Corona-induced #stayathome #workfromhome times, enriching one’s mind with knowledge and skills is the best therapy and empowerment. What better than to do that with your own services and products, thus preparing for a stronger and more successful tomorrow.
Stay home, stay safe, stay enlightened.