Today’s consumers are digitally connected, socially networked and prefer to have gathered all the required information on the product that is to be purchased, before they even speak with your sales team. However, an intelligent consumer may approach your salesperson with a difficult question—one without an answer on your website, white paper, social media posts and so on. Is your staff adequately equipped to make that personal connection, provide a trustworthy experience for your prospective customer and tip the scale toward a win situation for your organization?
Importance of Product Knowledge
Product knowledge is the most important tool for closing sales. It instills faith, trust, and respect in the customer, which creates a positive customer experience. The importance of product knowledge represents itself the most in these situations:
Answering Difficult Questions:
Many customers will have answered just about every question on your product or service before they even call you. But, there are usually a couple questions which don’t have answers online, and normally they are difficult questions like: “I have read some mixed reviews on your customer service. Can you tell me what I can expect if I have problems down the road?” This is where product knowledge training is crucial. If your team is educated on these negative perceptions ahead of time and have prepared responses for them, the answer the customer receives will be very powerful and concise. If they are caught off guard, they might become defensive, stumble over their response, or completely ignore the question, which will result in all faith being lost with the customer because the one question they couldn’t find an answer for ahead of time, was answered insufficiently.
Customers have to trust the product, company, and person they interact with before they make a purchase, and by now, you probably know that the person they interact with is weighed much more heavily than the other two sources. This makes it vital for your sales team to be seen as trustworthy sources of information. As mentioned earlier, customers enter conversations armed with information about your product. Imagine what it says to your customer if what they hear from the salesperson is not the same as what they have taken from your website or marketing releases. It eliminates all trust in not only the company, but also in the salesperson, because they don’t know who to believe. This makes it crucial that not only your sales team has enough product knowledge, but that they also have the most current product knowledge.
Making Lasting Impressions:
One of the reasons that customers are doing so much research on your products and services is that tremendous competition has driven consumers to believe that all products are similar. With such a small margin of difference in the product itself, companies are realizing that they can make up for the difference in other areas. One easy area that you can make a difference is in the buying experience, but it requires an in-depth knowledge of your product to do so. For example, a customer starts the conversation by asking about one product, but your salesperson recognizes that this customer is actually a better fit for a different product (or even an add-on product.) Your salesperson then proceeds to explain the reasons why, and in doing so, has now taught the customer something and shown that the salesperson has the customer’s best interest in mind. With so many “order takers” in the sales industry right now, this is sure to create a lasting impression.
Benefits of Product Knowledge
Knowledge is power and for your sales force, product knowledge can be the vehicle to increased sales. We have already discussed the reasons why product knowledge is important to your business, but the list below highlights the benefits of product knowledge—as they directly relate to your sale team.
- Strengthen Communication Skills – A thorough and wider understanding of a product enables a salesperson to use different techniques and methods of presenting a product to various types of customers. Stronger communication skills empower a salesperson to suitably adapt a sales presentation for greater impact.
- Boosts Enthusiasm - Armed with deep product knowledge, a display of enthusiasm and belief in the product may generate excitement among your customers and alleviate uncertainty about the solution that the product provides for the customer.
- Grows Confidence - If a customer isn’t fully committed to completing a sale, the difference may simply be the presence (or lack) of credibility or confidence a salesperson has towards the product. Becoming educated in the product and its uses will help cement that confidence.
- Assists in Overcoming Objections – Factual information gained from product knowledge, may be used to strike down objections voiced by customers. Solid knowledge about your product coupled with parallel information about similar products sold by your competitors—gives you that added advantage to easily counter objections.
Product training with emphasis toward product knowledge will be more effective in helping you deliver customer experiences that “Wow” before your competitors do. In closing and to reiterate the importance of product knowledge, here’s a quote:
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
See how our product knowledge training solutions helped a leading global media company train their employees across the world. Download the Case Study