Patricia Allman was her Audio/Video company’s top salesperson for 2006 and 2007. When the market released the latest audio/video editing software program it seemed like a shoe in. Her “loyal” clients would certainly and enthusiastically buy from her. That was until one client asked her to explain the software’s plug-in and compatibility with his present production studio set-up. She didn’t know the answer and didn’t know what questions to ask him next. She didn’t get the sale.
When it comes to product knowledge, do your salespeople watch clients and potential clients slip away due to a lack of it?
Your customer’s trust and willingness to purchase from you is intrinsically connected to your sales force’s firm grasp of product knowledge. This knowledge provides your buyer with many benefits that can include establishing an emotional connection with your merchandise and service. Having product knowledge also brings your product to life and instills confidence in your company.
What is product knowledge exactly? For starters, it is not simply knowing sterile facts and figures about the product or service you want to sell. Nor, is it just about the right words to spurt out to impress your client on how smart you are.
Effective product knowledge has to convey to your client a sincere level of care, a caring that is demonstrated by knowing what questions to ask and how your answers will help the customer integrate your product for their benefit.
Knowing how to light a match and make a fire can either burn your house down or keep it warm and cozy.
Even if you have implemented a well-designed sales incentive program to motivate sales, the motivation and engagement factor may still not be enough to increase your sales if your product knowledge skills are on the weak side.
Implementing a customized, consistent training program can help your sales stars translate product features into benefits and ultimately make those emotional connections that cause your prospects to buy from you. However, investing valuable resources in product knowledge training can become a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Especially when those products and services change so rapidly that what information your sale people learn one week can quickly become outdated the next.
High tech industries experience this phenomenon often. So you may be incenti-vising your sales force with kinds of rewards for performance but lack a mechanism to consistently and persistently educate them on product knowledge.
Why not consider incorporating a product knowledge education system within your already existing sales incentive program. This can be easily implemented using a point-based system to provide the incentive component. Your sales force will receive points and rewards for scoring well on quizzes that you provide within the program. Quizzes are designed to teach your sales and marketing associates the right questions to ask and the best answers that benefit your buyers.
The worldwide web, for example, gives today’s buyers access to endless information on almost any product in existence. Remember that buyers are spending their hard earned cash; they want to be armed with enough information to make an educated purchase.
If your sales people seem hesitant or unsure, your customers will immediately pick up on it and go somewhere else.
So to gain customers and keep them, your sales people will need to be ahead of the curve. Using a point-based incentive program that motivates and rewards your customer facing sales associates for increasing their product knowledge is a great way to accomplish this.