What happens if your client asks you a question and you don’t know the answer? Do you guess, fumble your way through an answer or just throw your hands up and say this is too hard?
First of all, be honest and tell your client that you will find an answer to their query and come back to them. Remember, honesty is the best policy and your client will respect you for it. But what you need to do is go back to the drawing board and learn more about your product.
If you run a business you need to know your product back to front. If you don’t, the implications can be costly. There is no doubt you need to be an industry expert; it shows professionalism and leadership. If you don’t know your product, you lose respect and ultimately lose business.
You can have everything from the correct manner and look, you can be polite and provide fantastic service, but if you don’t know your product and the mechanics behind your product your client will see through you.
This all sounds very simplistic, but it is true, because it’s a common mistake made by business owners that makes them look like amateurs. How do you become a product champion? You read, you learn, you study, you investigate, you take notes and then you implement. When a client asks questions, you need to be able to answer any query that may arise.
How do you study and learn about your product? It can be done in a lot of ways. There will be manuals or product guides, there will be industry days that you can attend, there will be industry publications you can read and business managers you can ask.
If your business is a vehicle, your product is the engine – and if your engine isn’t working properly or given the right fuels, then you have a vehicle that cannot move. You need to put an effort into this part of your business because it is vital that you understand the engine of your business.
Products can be complex and convoluted, and you might have difficulties in knowing the intricacies of it. If you are struggling with this side of your product knowledge, the only solutions are repetition in studying your product or even having a look at improving your memory skills.
There is no doubt that with experience comes product knowledge, but if you are new to your industry and want to stand out from your peers then you need become a student of your product.
So now that you have become an expert, what next? Your knowledge enables you to answer queries and scenarios. If your client realises that you know your product, it will no doubt help you close sales, because your client feels confident in dealing with you.
One thing I have prided myself on is knowing my product and being able to answer clients’ questions. I did this by reading a lot about product, but also knowing where to go if I needed to find answers. I think one of my greatest strengths is being able to solve problems. The way I am able to do this is if a client has a query or, worse still, an issue arises, I am able to think on my feet and make the right call. I can do this because I know the products I am dealing with.
It also can lead to you being able to blog about your product and you might even be able to take it further by writing a book.
We are all looking for respect within our industry and to be a leader. You can have all the right ingredients, but if your product knowledge isn’t right then how are you going to be viewed?
Paul Blake, franchisee, Citiwide Homeloans
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