How many times have you heard people tell you, "You just need more product knowledge, then you'll start to close more business." All I ever hear is how important product knowledge is. Yes, product knowledge is important but how about teaching me how to use the product knowledge to close business. Most companies do not focus enough on fundamental sales training and development. Sad but true.
For now, forget about the product knowledge brain dump, the speeds and feeds pitch that you normally do with your prospects. The reality is that if you're doing this, 1) you are talking to the wrong person, typically a non-decision maker who has zero access to money, 2) you are talking about you and your product when you should be focused on the prospect, 3) you are boring your prospect.
Rule #1: Always start your prospecting/qualification calls with questions about THEM. Don't talk about you or your product. Break the ice and establish rapport by getting them to talk about something they are familiar and comfortable talking about, THEMSELVES!
Rule #2: Provide concrete example of how your product will impact their business. Will it improve productivity, performance? Will it streamline processes? Most importantly, how will they PROFIT by using your product?
Rule #3: Storytime. You need to tell stories. People remember stories. Provide examples or testimonials of how other customers have profited. Customer testimonials are never used enough! Get them to visualize how they could benefit by using your product. "Mr. Prospect, imagine if..."
Rule #4: Understand THEIR "perceived value," not yours, THEIRS. We already know they need it. We already know they should buy it. Get them to talk about how they would benefit, profit, etc. Make perceived value realized value and you got yourself a sale.
The reason why sales reps resort to product knowledge during sales engagement is because it's what they were taught to do. We are simply relying on what we already know and are comfortable talking about. Heard this before from a sales manager? "Just tell your prospect that we can do all these things and they will automatically buy." Product knowledge and product capabilities often gets overused because they are the easiest things to mention for differentiation purposes.
The very best sales reps know that they can change the "playing field" in a variety of different ways. The very best sales reps can create differentiation that are multi-dimensional compared to one-dimensional, IE, product knowledge/product capabilities. Everyone already does this! Be different!
A few things that are critical to your sales success:
1. Profit: Companies want to make money, not save money. Show them how they can make more money and you got a deal.
2. Perceived value: What matters is what they think about you and your product. Your opinion does not matter. Again, your opinion does not matter.
3. Proof: Back up your statements with customer testimonials, success stories in PDF, references. Show a video testimonial!
4. Service: Are you reactive, proactive, responsive? Are you fostering customer satisfaction or customer loyalty via your service? Satisfaction is just that, just enough to get by and in most cases, it's never enough. If you get customer loyalty, you have a partner and someone that will want you to succeed as much as you have helped them succeed.
5. Engagement: No engagement = no interest = no deal. If you have not broken the ice and established rapport in 15 seconds, you've lost your window of opportunity.
6. Likability and Credibility: The first sale in any sale is yourself. If they won't buy you, they won't buy your product. Are you perceived as an expert, do you sound like you know what you are talking about? Are you likable and credible?
So we have come full circle. Yes, product knowledge is important. Yes, you need to know your product to sell your product, however, the lesson here is to focus on your customer and to demonstrate creative ways they can profit by leveraging your product. Don't be one-dimensional. Move outside your comfort zone and become multi-dimensional.