What Do I Need to Know?
Preparation => understanding:
1. Selling, salespeople, sales philosophies
2. Acquiring knowledge & information
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
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
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
Makes you job more fun
Creates more self confidence & enthusiasm
Facilitates sales presentations
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)
Customer (specific and in general)
Human Behavior (social styles, buying process)
Product Knowledge categories
How it is made
What it will/will not do
Likely results/potential problems
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
It distinguishes your product from „mail order‟ products and
justifies your company‟s decision to hire you
Product support (after the sale)
Market knowledge is staying
current on . . . .
Economic (S&D) trends
Your competitors‟ activities
Your customers‟ competitors‟ activities
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,
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.