Product Knowledge and Serving the Customer

In Jeffrey Gitomer’s latest e-zine issue, he talks about product knowledge. Because I didn’t want to wait to get reprint permission, I’ve included a link to his article instead. Go read it. Then return here for these additional workbook questions:

1. Jeffrey says, “It’s not just product knowledge; it’s your insight and understanding of how the customer benefits and wins from it.”

Take a look at your top selling products (that INCLUDES YOU). Write down three different ways your customer benefits from each product. Now commit them to memory and think of three more. You should be able to look at each product from multiple angles: cost, convenience, ease of use, flexibility, accessibility, quality, health and safety, to name a few.

2. Specifically, look at yourself. As a party plan professional, you have at least 2 distinct customer groups: your retail customers and your sales team. What benefits do you provide to each group? You need 6 benefits to EACH group. There may be some overlapping, but there should also be some differences. These are the reasons WHY people should be doing business with you.

3. What is the value of the product/service? Notice, I didn’t say cost. And I don’t mean some arbitrary retail “value” that you don’t REALLY charge the customer. As party plan pros, we love to tell our customers and hostesses that a product has a $xx retail value. In reality, the actual value is about half that, because you can almost always get an item in any party plan catalog at half price. One company I know takes pride in offering one item at half price for every two you buy at regular price – even to the guests. It’s a great gimmick, but the real value of those items is really only half the retail price. So you have to dig a little deeper. Is there a lifetime warranty? That’s valuable. Is there a 7 day delivery turn around? That’s a convenience value. Do you begin to see how benefits and values are interrelated?

Determine a value for each of those top selling products – including yourself. The value shouldn’t be a dollar amount necessarily. Think of it in terms of scale – is this a HIGH value item, or a low one? Remember, Gitomer said, “The more they need it the better your chances for engagement are.”

4. Compare the big sellers to the items you deemed high value. What additional value can you provide to increase the desirability of the item? Remember, adding value does not always mean adding cost.

5. Jeffrey also says, “The first element of the selling/buying process. If you can’t engage, they will disengage.”

What can you do to engage your customers and assert value in a way that sets you apart from others in your company?