The Power of Knowledge
Therefore, I say, know the enemy and know yourself.
In 100 battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.
–Sun Tzu, The Art of War
In scanning over a ranking by selected marketing executives of major firms dealing with qualities needed for selling, one quality always was listed in the top five. The quality is product knowledge. If sales professionals don’t spend the necessary time doing their homework or learning about the products and services of their company, they will eventually be another number added to the high turnover that exists in the selling industry. Why is it so important to know your product? Why should you know information about your company? If you don’t, the following things will happen to you in your selling experience:
■ You will lose sales and encounter more than average sales resistance.
■ You will lack self-confidence.
■ You will find selling unenjoyable because of the fear and stress that will emerge.
■ You will give poor sales presentations.
A sales professional becomes a very important source of information to the buyer during the buying process. Necessary time should be spent learning about the products, services, and company information so the sales professional can fulfill the role of an assistant and consultant to the buyer.
This first item of discussion is, “what really makes up a product?” When customers buy a product, they buy much more than a physical, tangible item; they buy a package of benefits. People buy products that will make their life more comfortable and satisfy their wants and needs–in essence, products provide personal benefits. People also buy numerous services. Customers expect their life to be benefitted from their purchases. Besides receiving a physical product or service, the customer also purchases credit, delivery, installation, guarantees, warranties, advertising, customer service, maintenance, and all other services that are involved in selling the product or service. Customers may not initially realize it, but they pay for all these additional items when the product is originally purchased.
What is a product?
➫A package of benefits.
➫A tangible, physical good.
➫An intangible service.
➫Any value-added services.
A thorough knowledge of your products and services is essential for sales success. The most successful sales professionals are those who can communicate the value of their product offerings to their potential customers. Customers depend on sales professionals for information. Sales professionals of all industries and products should acquire product information in the areas that are listed below.