Product knowledge is one of those things that you have to have, you just may not need to use it in every sales presentation. During the demonstration you should describe your merchandise using features, benefits and agreement questions.
A feature is something that the manufacturer has made available in the merchandise. A benefit is what the feature will do for the customer, and an agreement question is getting them to say “yes.”
It is interesting to note that most salespeople are very feature driven. In other words they talk exclusively about the features of the merchandise. For example: It has this and it has this and it has that and it also has this.
However, customers don’t buy features, they buy benefits, or what the feature does for them. In many situations I have heard salespeople rattling off features in terms that the typical customer cannot and does not understand. Many salespeople talk in a foreign language using industry jargon. The customer then gets confused or won’t admit that they don’t understand and then make up an objection. Something like “I’ll be back” or “I need to think about that,” when in reality, we, as salespeople, confused them using words that only we understand.
Therefore we need to talk in terms of features (what it has or our industry jargon), benefits (what the feature does for the customer in easy to understand words) and agreement questions (getting them to agree with how important the feature and/or benefit is to their decision making process). For example: “One of the spectacular things about this ring is that it has a 6-prong head, meaning your diamond will be extremely secure, that is terrific isn’t it? Another nice thing about this ring is that the ring is white gold, meaning the ring will perfectly match your other jewelry, as you mentioned that is an important consideration, correct?”
In order to create the perception of value salespeople need to speak in terms that customers understand and using words that give a descriptive definition to the customer. Saying words like; exquisite, gorgeous, beautiful, spectacular, etc. will increase the perception that customers have of the value that they hold for the merchandise. Saying this jewelry is pretty or functional, or this chain will match, and last a long time, don’t do enough to increase the perception of value. Look at the examples in the previous paragraph and eliminate the adjectives that give value and you will hear a mediocre presentation at best. Keep the adjectives in and suddenly you are describing a valuable piece of exquisite jewelry that anyone would be proud to own.
As a sales manager the greatest help that you could give to your salespeople is to take the time and actually listen in on several of their sales presentations every week. Listen to see if they are asking the correct questions, hear if they are selling based on the reasons that the customer wants to buy. See if they get the customer to open up and reveal valuable information that will help the customer close themselves. Listen for descriptive words that add value to the presentation.
Being successful in sales does not necessarily require a gift of gab, it requires an ability to ask questions, really listen to the answers and react to the answers. Selling based on the customers’ perception of value or your ability to increase their perception of value will make all the difference in the world when it comes to selling higher priced merchandise. Selling items that the customer will be proud to show and that will last for years to come will increase your personal trade, repeat business and referral business substantially.
Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Mr. Huisken authored the books “I’M a salesman! Not a PhD.” and “Munchies For Salespeople, Selling Tips That You Can Sink Your Teeth Into.” He also developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, “The Employee Handbook” and “Policy & Procedures Manual,” The Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, www.iastraining.com or fax 303-936-9581.
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