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Product Knowledge Isn't King

August 23, 2012

I was shopping at a major retailer once and I couldn't believe the lack of true salespeople. I had a guy who had great product knowledge, he absolutely knew everything about the product, but he was a bad salesman.

It is a common misconception that product knowledge is the main tool to sell that product. If I know more and can tell you more about the product, you will naturally buy it. But in today's world where I can Google all the product specs before I even come in to see it, how is your knowledge going sell me? I've already seen your knowledge on a webpage online. What you need to do is sell me. I need to know WHY the product is worth buying. I need to know why having that feature is better than having another feature and why that benefits me. That takes selling. You need to take the time to find out what my needs are, and why the product you have will solve those needs. Don't get me wrong, product knowledge is essential, but it is not the most essential thing you need to know. Think of it this way, if I have the selling skills to learn what's wrong, but don't know the products well enough to find the best solution for you, then I can't make an ethical sale. But on the other hand, suppose I find out your needs and I have the right product for you but I can't or fail to convince you that this will help you, then all that product knowledge is useless. I need my sales guys to not only know my books, my audios and my online sales training tool backwards and forwards, but also need them to be able to convince people that the solutions we have are the best for them. So absolutely, you need to know your product, but you need to be able to sell someone on buying it and buying it from you.

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