Product Knowledge

Defining Product Knowledge and Product Fluency

In the early stages of my career, I noticed a concerning trend; my sales team was struggling to gain traction during their pitch and progressing the sale.  They were very knowledgeable about their products and services; however, it was clear that something was missing.

Product Knowledge vs Product Fluency

As I noticed more and more sales reps experiencing this issue, I was reminded of my Spanish classes. I got A’s in Spanish throughout college and I have always been confident in my Spanish speaking skills.  However, I could not hold a conversation and understand everything that was being communicated and most importantly, it was difficult for the customer to understand what I was saying.  Then I figured it out: We need our salespeople to be FLUENT with our products and services not just knowledgeable.

Salespeople know what they sell, and they sell what they know.  Too often salespeople know too little about their particular industry, their customer’s needs, and their company’s products to be able to sell the full suite of solutions.  Without this knowledge they can’t:

  • Ask the right questions to uncover their customer’s needs
  • Match the right products and services to those needs
  • Position the value of their company as superior to other options available
  • They can’t hold high-level sales conversations with the customer

The end result is lost sales and missed cross-selling opportunities.  In my experience, companies typically conduct new-hire and quarterly product training, but that simply doesn’t get the job done.   While knowledge is the foundation of any success, fluency is what separates the good from the great.

What Is Product Fluency

Is product knowledge just memorizing or is it something more?  Are you fluent with your product or service if you can recite a pamphlet?   In today’s fast paced business world, with endless information at everyone’s fingertips, sales teams have to be more prepared to achieve success as the power has shifted to the buyers.  We need to deliver more than what can be found in a Google search all while inciting emotion in a prospective client; we need to be fluent.

This trainable skill increases the ability to cross-sell, pivot during a conversation, and instill a greater confidence in your sales team’s delivery and pitch.

Include this concept in your next training session.  You will have increased engagement and understanding of how product fluency drives your sales force to newer heights.  I have included it in all of my training sessions and the response has been tremendous.  Most often in sales, it’s not re-inventing the wheel with an idea or approach, it’s bridging the gap between what is being taught and how it is being used to maximize effectiveness.

Creating a sales culture that lives and breathes its products and services, while having a strong pulse on the industry and its competitors, is what differentiates a strong salesforce from a weak one in today’s markets.  At Acquirent, we strive to develop and continually train our salesforce to fluency.