Being a successful Vendor requires an aggressive knowledge of your product line.
In fact, that holds true in every business.
An understanding of what you sell – how the product or service works, how it can be used, how it represents as an asset to the buyer – that is what distinguishes a business from a successful business. And an aggressive knowledge is that active desire and drive to learn more.
It is useful to take some time apart from the business of selling and look at your product lines through the eyes of a buyer. What would you want to know about the product before you will exchange your hard earned money for it? Get tough on yourself and ask the hard questions.
- What kind of warranty comes with it?
- How long before I will receive it?
- They sell cheaper at ***
- Would you take a lower offer?
Make a list of these questions, then answer the ones you can and see if those answers satisfy you as a buyer. If you have no answer, or it doesn’t satisfy, get aggressive and find that information. Finding the answers is just good business practice because there are seven words a client or customer respects and remembers, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”
an aggressive knowledge is that active desire and drive to learn more
When you follow up with the information it may not result in an immediate sale but that person will remember you sought the answer for them. And without trying to make it sound like some trick, it’s just general human nature to feel indebted or obligated for that service as a result. That person will find a reason to buy from you in the future, or to recommend you to a friend, even if just to fulfil their sense of obligation.
Being helpful is never a waste of time. Ever. And you now know that much more about your product line.
It’s also useful to look at your product through an inventor’s eyes. What does the product do, and how does it do it. Those are standard things to know and have ready to share, but what else can it do? Get imaginative – get inventive. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can – even the ridiculous – and write them down.
Let’s say you’re selling claw hammers. Well, in addition to pounding and pulling nails you can:
- crack walnuts
- open big cans of tomato juice
- hold down loose papers on a breezy day
- hack kindling from a firelog
- coax a starter motor to turn at least once more
- mold bends in sheet metal
- secure tent stakes
By the time you’re done you’ve not only increased the value of the product in its utility, but you also have some amusing witticisms to make for a friendly and memorable exchange with customers.
Being helpful is never a waste of time. Ever.
Know your product, aggressively, and be available to your customers and prospects with that knowledge. And be genuine. Remember that when you are not at work selling your product you are often being a customer for someone else’s product. You need to buy groceries, cloths, car parts, etc. You are a customer many times in your day. Connect with your customer having that in common.
It helps to picture yourself standing on one side of your product and the customer on the other side. It’s almost a contest between you and the customer as you both stand on opposite sides. It’s difficult to sell under such adversarial positioning.
Now picture yourself standing side by side with your customer as you both look in the same direction at your product. Now you’re connected. Two customers evaluating a product together. Have your product knowledge ready – not to sell but to add new dimension to the evaluation. Be ready to serve when they ask, and really listen to what they share because you’ll learn more about what you’re selling through their eyes. Genuine attendance to your customers will result in you being someone they will trust. And without much debate, people prefer to buy from someone they trust. They will remember you, they will refer you, and they will buy from you because they feel safe dealing with you.
Be ready to serve when they ask, and really listen to what they share because you’ll learn more about what you’re selling through their eyes.
This post is the second of a series, category Vendor 101