Club Insider

Product Knowledge Training for More Persuasive Sales Conversations

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Karen Woodard-ChavezKaren Woodard-Chavez

Over the past five or so years, I have noticed a declining level of product knowledge held by club sales staff. It is apparent that they are being trained primarily on sales skills and not on the crucial skill set of knowing precisely what benefits or outcomes all of the programs, services and equipment that club operators spend so much money on will provide for the member. Hmmm... that does not make good business sense.

When I go on site to do sales training with a client, one of my requirements is that the sales team has a minimum of seven days of product knowledge training, so they know what they are selling. Far too often, I find the club operator does not value this process, the product knowledge training has been scrimped upon, thus, the sales team is ill-prepared to maximize the investment in sales training. By scrimping on product knowledge training, you are not allowing your sales staff to be the expert. Rather, you are putting them in a position to look uncredible, which makes the club look bad and causes lost sales. A perfect example of this is when a salesperson does not have enough product knowledge training, and they speak very superficially about club programs, services and equipment. The tour becomes very feature-oriented on a surface level. They do not ask many questions or engage the prospect because they are afraid they will not be able to answer the questions. Thus, the tour becomes about the club and not what the prospect can achieve by being a member.

This article will provide several options for product knowledge training that will prove to make all of your selling conversations much more engaging and effective.

Tool #1: Create a Club Program, Services, Equipment Check List and Training Schedule for the 1st Week of Training New Sales People:

For the very first week of training with a new sales person, you will provide them with a list of classes to take; experiences to have that a member would have; and meetings with Program Directors/Department leaders to understand precisely what every program, service, piece of equipment and aspect of the facility will provide for a member. At the end of the 40-hour week of training, the salesperson will have had experiences that will provide an ability for him to be able to understand when a prospect has specific outcomes/needs and what the solutions can be.

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