In building your business and the sales team that fuels it, you have most likely invested in a variety of customer relationship management technologies in order to free your team up to spend their time on what matters – the customer. Likewise, you have probably invested a significant amount of time training your sales force in the fine art of making the sale. However, have you invested as much time and effort in training your team about how to best educate your customer about your product?
Customer education strategy should be a large part of any business that has an end product to sell, especially if your product is complicated technologically or mechanically. Customer knowledge is a sales tool in itself; after all, how can you convince a potential customer that they need what you’re selling if they don’t quite understand what it is? Giving your customers a good base of information can also reduce dissatisfaction and returns on products. Here are a few ways to make certain that your sales force is prepared to keep your customers informed before and after they buy your product.
Make Your Sales Team Specialists
No one should know your merchandise better than the people you’ve hired to sell it. No one. Training your team to use the best Sales Force Automation tools or the finer points of sales psychology is useless if you don’t also support a robust training period that includes extensive instruction on the details of your product. Your salespeople should know everything there is to know about what they are selling and exactly where to go to find answers to questions they’re not sure of.
Employers often make the mistake of skipping a rigorous training period with their staff as a money-saving strategy. The fact is that a well-trained sales force will recoup that cost in increased sales in a very short period of time. It is also true that well-trained employees have a greater sense of self-confidence – which increases their sales – and the act of becoming a specialist in a particular item can increase employee retention and engagement.
Another option is to hire commission only sales reps. Commission-only sales reps earn no base pay, and their entire salary is made up of variable sales commissions. Commissions are generally the most commonly used sales compensation tool.
If you have a physical location, setting up in-person demonstrations of your merchandise is an excellent way to educate your customers. The in-person format is casual and interactive and facilitates communication between your team and potential buyers. Adding some level of hands-on experience to the demonstration will also increase a customer’s comfort level with your product.
If you don’t have a physical location or even a physical product, then demonstrations can happen online through the company blog or other media platforms. Video demonstrations are
highly effective and can be as simple as a recorded version of a live demo, or as innovative as an interactive pictorial guide. An added benefit of video demonstrations is that they can serve the customer both before and after the sale; first providing information that leads to the sale and then providing guidance to assist customers in product usage.
Invest in User Guides
This is another useful tool that can be utilized in either a printed or digital form. Detailed guides explaining the inner workings of your product can be priceless to potential customers. Especially if your product is a large ticket item, customers need the security of a firm understanding of what they are investing in.
User guides can be even more effective online. For the customer, they’re a bit like having their hand held by a friend as they attempt to use your product on their own for the first time. And a customer that perceives you as a trusted friend will return to you time and again.
An educated customer is a happy, repeat customer. Along with all the other sales tools and goals that you set in your business, part of your sales strategy should be to produce a highly trained sales force that, in turn, can create educated and satisfied customers.