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Is Product Knowledge Overrated?

For years, Sales Managers and Sales Professionals alike have praised the importance of strong product knowledge. As buying behavior continues to evolve and access to information is more available, does product knowledge hold the same value it once did?

Janek’s research shows that product knowledge is as important today for Sales Professionals as it’s ever been. However, customers value less information on a product’s features and more on leveraging the product knowledge to solve problems in real time. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how great your product is. All your prospects want to know is how it will benefit THEIR business. This week’s blog will focus on how to leverage your product knowledge in the sales process to achieve greater results for you and your customers.

Cross your T’s and dot your I’s

Let’s face it: Product knowledge is undeniably important. Without knowing all the ins and outs of your products or services, you will not be taken seriously and risk losing business if you are unable to exude confidence and demonstrate expert knowledge.

Can you provide specific examples on how to apply your products and services, based on your customer’s distinct situation? How about presenting a “before” and “after” scenario? Can you show any glowing recommendations from existing customers about the value you provide? Simply put, do your homework and go the extra mile for each prospective buyer. Also, it is important that you think on your feet and learn how to solve problems in real time.

Get down to the nitty-gritty

There is no need to overwhelm your prospects with too many details or wear them out with too much information. Going over every point on your list will surely bore them to death. Stop beating around the bush and keep it simple! Fully focus on a few important features that will have the most impact on their situation. Consider the following:

  • What are some of the most pressing issues that need to be addressed immediately?
  • How do you ensure that you have the right solution for them?
  • And what aspects of your products or services should be brought to their attention right from the start?

Listen to your customers like your life depends on it

Each customer deserves your undivided attention. While your prospects tell you about their challenges and concerns, pay attention to every word they say and how they say it. Details matter and may alert you to the right solution. Don’t get distracted or think ahead about what you are going to say next.

What’s more, tune in to the verbal and non-verbal clues that they provide. Body language…the tone of their voice…a sign of frustration or discontent… Carefully observe your prospects, mirror their gestures and speak THEIR language when outlining your solutions. Create the comfort zone where they can feel at ease and gladly discuss their challenges.

Some problems may be too complex, obscure or invisible to the naked eye. Can you read between the lines and use your instincts when identifying the dormant issues? Prospects may be unaware of the biggest challenges staring them in the face.

Found the problem? Now it’s time to unveil the solutions

Once you have identified the problem, think of a way to showcase your services and products in a way that provides a real solution to their problem. Be sincere and genuine with your clients, show empathy and keep their best interest in mind. That’s how you become a trusted advisor and initiate long-term professional relationships that will last for years to come and benefit both parties.

Bottomline: Learning all you can about your product, while failing to present it in the light of the prospect’s problems is akin to showing up unprepared for a job interview. Always keep in mind that your approach is incomplete if you don’t take the time to learn everything you can about your prospect, delve into every detail, dig deeper into every problem and fully immerse yourself into their situation. Only then will you be able to make a difference and position your products or services as the best solution to their needs.