Now that you are aware of the information that should be acquired to assist the customer, know where you can find answers to questions that will be brought up when dealing with product and company knowledge. There are many sources available to obtain the information you will need. Although it is impossible to identify all available sources, the most commonly used will be given. The successful sales professional will stay in contact with these, as well as other information sources that are important to his/her individual company.
- Company literature. Every company should have training manuals, visual-aid materials, newsletters, annual reports, and other available material for the sales professional. Most companies take care of this in training programs for new recruits, but every sales professional should be involved in an on-going program to keep up on the new information that is available in the industry.
- Sales supervisors and other sales professionals. Your sales manager and experienced sales professionals with your company represent one of the best sources of knowledge. Be a good listener and ask questions to take advantage of their insight and understanding.
- Sales meetings and conferences. Most sales organizations have weekly or monthly meetings. One of the purposes of these meetings is to answer any questions sales professionals may have. If you have had difficulty in obtaining the answer to a specific knowledge problem, bring it up in this meeting.
- Trade magazines and professional journals. Business publications that are tailor-made for your industry provide an excellent source of current information on new product knowledge. Most industries have a specific publication that addresses specific issues in your industry.
- Manufacturing representatives and selling agents. Frequently make contact with those professionals that provide your company with the products. These professionals have direct contact with the makers of the products. Use them as an important information source.
- Past and present customers. Make it habit to solicit information from your customers. They will be honest with you and will provide the most important information. Customers will let you know if the product or service is providing benefits and satisfaction. Since the customer is generally called upon by your competitors, they often will provide you with good competitive information also.