Product knowledge is key to making a sale

There is nothing worse than speaking to a client and not knowing the answers to simple questions. Lack of product knowledge looks unprofessional, creates distrust and a lack of confidence, as well as being extremely embarrassing for you – the sales professional.

Familiarity with the ins and outs of your product/offering can mean the difference between making a sale or not.

Product knowledge is a key skill for all sales professionals and allows for a confident and persuasive approach to selling. Customers respond well to a caller if they are confident about the product and have the answers to questions.

Knowledge is power

Many of us will research a company and its product or offering before we apply for a position as a sales professional. Preparation for an interview will involve you knowing the product so that you are confident in answering questions during your interview.

Knowing the basics for an interview will always put you ahead of the game, but don’t stop there.

Knowledge of the finer details of your product/service once employed is key to becoming a good salesperson and reaching targets. Your career should be a continuous learning curve, complacency is laziness.

Try the product – tangible

Being able to try a tangible product is the first step. If it is something you can taste, touch or hear, then try it, form your own opinion.

Even negative opinions can be reflected on and turned into a positive. Here is an example;

Negative – This can of drink has a slightly bitter taste, it is not for me.

Positive response – Our product is made from purely organic and natural ingredients; we like to encourage the natural flavours of the fruit to come through. We have a variety of flavours, so maybe this one (mention other flavours) will be more suitable for you.

Knowing what other flavours are available and what they taste like means you can confidently offer an alternative. This can be applied to most, if not all, situations if you are aware of other options/deals. Being flexible with your offering means you can usually come to an agreement with the customer and meet halfway.

Try/experience a service

Not everyone has a tangible product to offer, it may be a service, these can be harder to try. That being said, we have all used a service at some point – after all we are all customers. Whether insurance, windows or utilities services we have all been approached by companies wanting to sell.

It is important to draw from your experiences of these services as a customer. What was it about them you liked or disliked, were they pushy, expensive, easy to contact, helpful or quick to respond?

Putting yourself in the position of the customer will help you empathise.

Communicate with your team/other departments

Working in sales is a team effort, a good sales team will bring in more business. Discuss the product/service with other members, engage with them about their opinions or what questions they are frequently asked.

Ensure you are all reading from the same page, incorrect and inconsistent information looks bad and customers may speak to other team members during their journey.

Access to marketing material

Marketing and sales departments must work in tandem with each other. Marketeers need to know the feedback from customers and sales professionals are the ones with their ear on the ground and can give valuable insights. Likewise, sales teams need access to current marketing material, brochures and credentials so that their knowledge is current and correct.

Constant and current knowledge

Products and services change and evolve with trends and laws. What may have been the way a year ago, may have changed.

Don’t get complacent, ensure you are up to date with any changes in taste, ingredients, product design, laws, prices, new packages or terms and conditions, often referred to as Continued Professional Development (CPD). Doing this keeps your knowledge current and correct.

Recognising and responding to feedback

Feedback is a wonderful and useful insight into how your customers are feeling emotionally.

Being aware of comments and feedback can prepare you for the unknown, it may also highlight areas that no one else has explored or where there may be a pattern of problems.

Solving these questions/problems will strengthen your knowledge and will help improve your product/services reputation.

Be honest

After all honesty is what we are about. Selling is not about selling anything, anyway to anyone. Good selling is about selling the right product to the right customer in order to prevent churn and keep customers coming back time and time again, encouraging recommendations.

If there are features of your product/service you feel may not suit your client, then don’t sell it to them. Alternatively, offer them another product or package in your range that will be more suited. It is worth knowing your limitations on what you can offer in terms of discounts, bespoke packages or any other variables you may be able to entice them with.

We are all human and we can’t know everything all of the time. There will always be that one question we have never been asked and there is no shame in admitting we don’t know the answer.

Never lie or make up an answer, if you are unsure, reassure the client that you will do your best to find the answer and get back to them, making sure you always follow up.

If your sales team are in need of a little extra, please contact Research Runner for advice on how to get the best out of your sales teams or if you are looking to out-source your new business efforts, Research Runners’ team are here to help. Visit us at or call us on +(44) 1279-260-031.