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Knowing your Products

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Whether your business is self-service or delivers personal service, a customer-facing person must be prepared to answer any customer's questions. Knowing about the products are part of being a professional.

Why is it important to be knowledgeable about your products? Because it helps you sell. When you know about what you are selling, you can speak intelligently about products and services. You can give good, accurate information. You sound convincing and credible. Customers like that! They want to trust you.

They want to feel like they have come to the right person and to the right place. Why? Because it makes them feel like smart customers. It makes them feel better about the goods they buy. And, this make them feel better about themselves.

Product knowledge helps build your enthusiasm for a sale. It allows you to show pride in the product or service. Your enthusiasm can increase customer interest. You can make a customer believe that what you are selling is what they had been looking for. You help advertise the product to the customer. It is like saying, “I have just the thing for you.”

Product knowledge enables you to organise effective sales presentations. If you know a product well, you can present it in different ways. You can tailor the sale to the customer. You can highlight aspects you think would most attract a potential buyer. Such features are easy maintenance or extended warranty, which may change an uncertain customer into a confident buyer.

Your knowledge of a product’s pros and cons allows you to handle objections more effectively. You can predict what customers will not like about a product and conquer their objections by turning their attention to what they will like. You can overcome customer resistance by pointing out hidden features or benefits. You can also move from one product to another and present effective sales pitches for each.

Take responsibility for learning about the products you sell. Ask yourself what you would like to know about a product. Listen to customers’ questions and get answers to them. You always should be able to answer these basic questions:

  • Do you sell…? Know what the store carries. Be able to answer customer questions about the brands, styles, sizes, colours and prices of products sold. Know what products are made of and why. Know their uses and benefits. Know their performance history. Know how to maintain and service products. Know what related items might appeal to customers.
  • “Where can I find…?” Know the location of products within the store. Don’t lead customers around on a hunt. Know how items are stocked on shelves or display areas. Know where additional quantities of products are stored. Know what products other departments carry. Also, know what the competition sells.
  • “Do you have any more of...?” Know if a product is in stock. Know how out-of-stock items can be ordered and how long they will take to arrive. If you do not know, ask the manager, buyer or warehouse. Do not disappoint customers by giving them wrong information; they will lose confidence in you.
  • “How much is this...?” Know price ranges for various products and services. Know the costs of different features and qualities. Know the prices of the items on sale. Know what products are being promoted and are on display. Know what items are featured in store ads and circulars. If the customers say, “I saw an ad for…”, know what they are talking about!

Study product information provided by the manufacturer, by suppliers, by the buyers, by your store manager, from wherever you can. Impress your customers with your product knowledge. But beware of sounding like a know-it-all. Most customers are well-informed about the products they want to buy. They want professional advice, not a patronising sales pitch.