There is an interesting relationship between knowledge and closing a sale. Let’s go back in the Big Bopper’s career to the summer of 1975. I was working for a medical company and selling a new bifurcated graft. (Do you really want to know what that’s for?) The product was new so most of the sales reps didn’t know a whole lot about the features. I was also new to the company. The market was cardiovascular surgeons. You best strap on the helmet for these guys because this was a full contact mental scrimmage!
I decided to play it dumb. I began to see the chest crackers and one by one they bought the product. My approach went something like this. “Doctor Smith, I’m new, the product is new but my company tells me that the graft is great. What do you think?” Each of them told me the features of the product they liked. Coincidentally, these were the same features the company told us were good. Well, I went on my merry way selling the heck out of these puppies.
Of course all good things come to an end. The end came when I began to tell physicians about the features of the product. Someone wise said that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing and they were right. However, knowledge is critical to the sales call if it’s used at the right time.
Knowledge to me deals with:
- How a product is used by the customer
- Does the customer use the product correctly
- If they don’t, how exactly does that effect the product
- What are the features of the competitive product
- How does the use of the competitive product compare with the use of your product
- Are there product champions for your product vs. the competitor’s product
- What affect does pricing have
- Is there something about the product the customer may not like
- What objections do you foresee and how will you deal with them
- Is there a way to bundle products together
- What problems does the customer have that your product will solve
Knowledge is power if it’s used to help you earn the right for the business. Don’t learn enough to get by, learn more than you’ll ever need to know.
The Final Thought: “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” Henry Ford