Acquiring Knowledge

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					     What Do I Need to Know?

Preparation => understanding:
1. Selling, salespeople, sales philosophies
2. Acquiring knowledge & information
3. Prospecting/targeting
4. Sales goals, strategies, aids
5. People types
6. Customer purchasing behavior
 Major Faux Pas Results in Lost
 Selling overseas (or to foreigners visiting the
  U.S.) demands a high degree of cultural
  sensitivity. Steve Waterhouse, affiliated with
  Waterhouse Group of Scarborough, Maine,
  learned this lesson the hard way. He had
  been courting a Tokyo-based meeting
  planning company for six months. Finally, he
  arranged a meeting with the company‟s
  representative who was attending a national
  convention in the U.S. What breach of
  etiquette by Mr. Waterhouse resulted in the
  loss of a $100,000 sale?
   Source: Selling Today, by Manning and Reece (10th ed., p. 40)
Who Is the „Smarter‟ Sales Rep?
 Lyle is a corporate executive in charge of
  purchasing. He has two main competitive
  suppliers – Best Deal and Good Buy. Both
  companies‟ products are good, their service
  is excellent, and the sales reps (Bonnie of
  Best Deal and Gary of Good Buy) know their
  product lines thoroughly. Lyle, however,
  prefers to give most of his business to Bonnie
  for what „knowledge‟ reason?
Fill in the Blank
“_____ is a global leader in providing pest management
    and biotechnology products that improve the quality
    of the earth‟s food supply and contribute to the
    health and quality of life of the worlds‟ growing
a.  Dow Agri Sciences
b.  Dow Agro Sciences
c.  Dow-Agrisciences
d.  Dow-Agri Sciences
e.  Dow AgriSciences
f.  Dow Agro-Sciences
g.  Dow Agrosciences
h.  Dow AgroSciences
Preparation is . . . .
 Critical in determining how successful we are in:
      Taking a trip
      Giving a speech
      Going out on a date
      Taking an exam
      Interviewing for a job
      Making a sales call
   A key 1st step in strategic agri-selling
   Essential for any sales call
   The difference between being average and outstanding
   Planning ahead
   Acquiring knowledge & information
What does knowledge and information do for
you as a salesperson?

 Gives you power/ability to solve problems/write proposals
 Opens doors/makes you welcome
 Invites you back
 Helps you deal with objections/complaints
 Makes your customer happy, more money, etc.
 Builds your credibility
 Prevents errors
 Makes you job more fun
 Creates more self confidence & enthusiasm
 Facilitates sales presentations
 Saves time
 Enables you to pay attention to details
The Basics of Knowledge for a
1.   Knowledge changes and so the process of
     acquiring and updating information is a
     never-ending process that continues
     throughout one‟s career.
2.   Different TYPES of knowledge are
        Product (yours and the competition)
        Company (yours and the competition)
        Market
        Customer (specific and in general)
        Human Behavior (social styles, buying process)
Product Knowledge categories
 Production information
    History
    How it is made
    Improvements
 Performance information
    What it will/will not do
    Likely results/potential problems
    Maintenance
    Service agreements/warranties
 Purchase information
    Price
    Payment options
    Delivery terms
Customer expectations about your
product knowledge as a salesperson
 You know more, a whole lot more, about your product than they
   You will help them understand increasingly sophisticated
    product choices and possible customized product solutions
    (main reason you are needed?)
   You have at least some competitive product knowledge as well
   If you lack knowledge, you will admit it, and then go get it
   You will use it to emphasize the good things about your product
    instead of the bad things about your competition
   You are selling more than just a product, you are selling your
    expertise too
   It distinguishes your product from „mail order‟ products and
    justifies your company‟s decision to hire you
       Company Knowledge

 History
 Ownership
 Brands
 Facilities
 Values/ethics/culture/mission
 Product support (after the sale)
Market knowledge is staying
current on . . . .
 Economic (S&D) trends
 Your competitors‟ activities
 Your customers‟ competitors‟ activities
 Weather conditions
 Interest rates
 Anything that affects customer buying
Customer knowledge . . . .
 Includes all those things you need to know to zero in
  on and find solutions to your customer‟s problems.
 Involves a prospect profile that is a detailed fact
  sheet in a folder or on a computer listing information
  necessary for developing an effective sales call
 Typically includes information about a prospect‟s:
    Name and address                     ■ Business situation
    Family situation                     ■ Current supplier
    Personality description              ■ Credit rating
    Interests                            ■ Education
    Factors likely important in buying
 A professional salesperson will update a prospect
  profile as needed after every call.
 Customers expect you to remember this information.
Planning & Knowledge Quotes
 There is no shortcut to achievement, life requires thorough
    preparation. (George Washington Carver)
   It pays to plan ahead. It wasn‟t raining when Noah built the ark.
   If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 hours
    sharpening the axe. (Abe Lincoln)
   Preparation is 90% of the sale. (Bob Wichman, former VP,
   Reading and study should be just as much a part of a
    salesperson‟s day as calling on customers. (Sales Upbeat,
    Dec. 8, 1994)
   A college education won‟t hurt you if you are willing to learn a
    little something after you graduate. (Lee Iacocca, former CEO,
    Chrysler Corp.)
Planning & Knowledge Quotes
 “There is no substitute for knowledge.” (W. Edwards Deming)
 If you don‟t know where you‟re going, you might end up
    somewhere else. (Yogi Berra, former New York Yankee)
   It takes three weeks to prepare a good ab-lib speech. (Mark
   Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
   Most people don‟t plan to fail, they fail to plan.
   There are many bridges to a better life. Knowledge happens to
    be the most reliable. (Howard Stein, Chairman & CEO, The
    Dreyfus Corp., 1992)
   Successful professionals pay „Attention to Detail‟.
   You can get by on charm for about 15 minutes. After that, you
    had better know something.

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