This post is an extract from Selling for Dummies. I authored the British version and you can grab a copy on Amazon.
One of the best advantages of a career in selling is that good selling skills are portable. By that we mean that after you master the skills, you’ll have the education you need to sell any product that interests you when you complete your product knowledge. Product knowledge is one whole side of the selling triangle I discussed in Chapter 1, which tells you one-third of what you need to know to be successful.
In this chapter, I covers some specific suggestions for ways you can develop your product knowledge and be prepared for nearly any question that comes your way when you’re with potential clients. By investing time in product research upfront, it’ll pay off when you’re ready to put your selling strategies to work.
What You Need to Know
What must you absolutely, positively, truly know about your product in order to sell it?
Always begin with the obvious:
- What the product is called.
Know the specific product name and model, as well as the product/part number so that if your customers refer to it by a number, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about. You also need to have a clear understanding of what it does as you’re bound to run into potential clients who’ will refer to it as, ‘“that type of machine that cuts metal and things like that! At least I think that’s what it said in the ad I saw.’”
- Whether the product is the latest model or release.
Many of the potential clients you’ll encounter will want the latest version of your product.
- How it improves on a previous model or version.
Be able to list the new features or options and what they can do for your customers.
- How fast, powerful, or accurate it is.
Be able to offer up a comparison of the product to its competition so you can tell your customers how your product performs when compared to others.
It’s better if the comparison was done by an independent study group. If it’s just your word against that of the competition, you may not have much of a leg to stand on and the listener may not believe you as it will sound just like a rather creative sales pitch.. .
If there’s no independent study is available, at least get testimonials from your satisfied clients who are already using the product stating why that this model’s better than what they had before.
How to operate it during demonstrations.
- Nothing is worse than trying to demonstrate a product to a prospective customer, only to find out that you’re not sure how to make it do what the’ve asked. Be able to operate the product as well as you operate the car you drive every day.
- What colours the product comes in.
Being able to tell your customers immediately whether you have a specific colour available will come in handy when they want to know whether it meets their needs. …and if you ever sell a product where colour is an issue with several a buyers, please find out early what their might be a desired colour is and steer them away if you cannot supply it.
- What your current inventory levels are for setting delivery dates.
Your client may have seen a review of your product in a magazine, even though it’s won’t be available not due out for another two more months. You’ll need to know what he’s talking about, inform him of delivery delays, and see if he needs the benefits of the product sooner. If the product is currently in production, but on back-order, brag about its popularity and know the projected delivery dates.
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