Product knowledge, and what to do with it to make sales.

Product knowledge, and what to do with it to make sales.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at


Product knowledge, and what to do with it to make sales.

Everyone talks about the importance of product knowledge. No one tells you how to use it to make a sale.

REALITY: Most companies train 90% product knowledge, 10% sales knowledge. Big mistake. The percentage should be: 20% product or service, 80% sales, personal development, attitude, and presentation skills.

REALITY: Salespeople spend 80% of their time OR MORE trying to explain their product. Why their button is different than the competition’s button. Why their product is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Even doing a product “demo.”

Salespeople and their bosses refer to this process as “educating the customer,” and stress it as an important part of the selling process. What a joke.

CLUE ONE: Customers don’t want an education — especially yours.

Come on, Sparky. Can you picture some top brass over at your prospective customer’s place of business saying, “Boy I sure hope those people over at Acme come over here and educate us. We’re pretty stupid.”

I have posed a series of questions and statements so that you can get the idea about the reality of your product (or service). The key is, and always has been, ask questions about it BEFORE you start talking about it.

1. What it is. A description. Totally boring because the prospect ALREADY KNOWS WHAT IT IS.

2. What it does. Another monolog. Totally boring because the prospect ALREADY KNOWS WHAT IT DOES.

3. How it’s used. Getting warmer, but still boring.

4. What’s the value of it? AHA! Now you’re getting the attention of the prospective buyer. Does it increase productivity? Is morale boosted as a result of it?

5. How do I profit from use? This is one of the most important nuances in the selling/buying process. The customer (unless they’re in purchasing) does NOT want to “save money.” The customer wants to make a PROFIT. And wants to profit from whatever it is you’re selling.

6. What’s the expected outcome? BIG. Get them to visualize what the product will do for them after they have purchased it.

7. What’s the prospective customer’s opinion of it? I want to know and understand the customer’s point of view as much as I want him to understand mine.

8. How has the customer successfully used it? If you know the history, you can more readily predict the future.

9. What’s the customer’s perceived value of it? This takes dialog. Create it, and you will have a huge competitive advantage. Value creates a buying atmosphere. Their perception of value is your reality of sale.

10. How have others used it? If you must talk about your product, talk about how others have used it, produced more from it, or made a profit as a result of it.

10.5 What do other’s think of it? The best way to sell your product is to let others sell it for you. In VIDEO format, customer testimonials are the single most powerful sales tool on the planet. Your customers can validate every claim you make, they can corroborate productivity, and they can tell actual stories of use and benefit. They provide the proof that you can only brag about.

I rarely recap, but this is an imperative for all salespeople to understand and execute as you seek to differentiate yourself from those who sell the same thing you do, and claim to be better.

Engagement. The first element of the selling/buying process. If you can’t engage, they will disengage.

Differentiation. They must know how you differ from all the others.

Profit. Everyone wants more profit.

Perceived Value. The customer wants real value for their money.

Service offering both reactive and proactive. Everyone needs service, the question is: How do you respond?

Ease of doing business. I want it NOW. “Now” is the new prerequisite for doing business.

The customers true desire and need of your product today. The more they need it the better your chances for engagement are.

Likeability of salesperson. The first sale that’s made is you.

Believability of salesperson. Your compelling presentation will create believability.

Proof of product, process, productivity, and profitability. Without video testimonials you are alone in the selling process. With them, you will have one thing the competition won’t have — the order.

It’s not just product knowledge; it’s your insight and understanding of how the customer benefits and wins from it.

If you would like one more great idea about how to retain the customer once they buy, go to, register if you’re a first time visitor, and enter the words VALUE MESSAGE in the GitBit box.