ProSalesGuide sales site banner, sales training, sales planning, sales strategies, sales blogs

The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales:

5. Not Knowing Your Product

By Steven J. Schmidt (2/16/09)

When you are in any field of sales, it is imperative that you know everything about the product or service that you are selling. You cannot rely simply on being a great a salesperson. I have seen instances where people buy from salesmen because they just liked the salesperson for who they are, and not really for what they are selling.

However, in the wonderful world of sales, if you do not have the knowledge about your product or service, why would the customer want to buy anything off of you? I surely would not, and I would go to another salesperson who actually has the knowledge. The reason that consumers will buy off of you in the first place is because you have something that sounds appealing to them or is something they need. Now, if you do not have any knowledge in what you are selling, you can throw both of those reasons out the window.

Imagine that you are selling a new roof to a person who needs a new one. They inquire, "I would like to know how long this roof will last for and how well my house will be insulated during the winter with the particular roof that you will be installing?"

Now, those are very important questions that you must know as a salesperson. Suppose your answer is, "Well I think the roof will last for 10 or 20 years, and it should keep you warm in the winter. I am pretty sure the supplies are really good, but I can always double check."

First of all, when a consumer spends money on a roof, that's anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. So, right off the bat, this type of sale is dealing with a lot of money. For a sales rep to say, "Well I think 10 or 20 years," that is not acceptable at all. Ten or 20 years is way too big of a difference to give the customer. That is showing the customer that you really don't know if it is 10 or 20 years. If it's 10 years, it should obviously cost less than 20 years as long as the supplies are the same. Saying something along the lines of having a roof last 10 to 12 years is much more likely and reasonable of a gap.

Additionally, telling a customer, "It should keep you warm in the winter," is ridiculous. There is no such word as "should." Once again, you are dealing with something as important as a roof. The supplies you are ordering to be installed either will or will not keep you warm in the winter.

These are just basic concepts to know when dealing with selling a roof. The basic ideas behind any product or service is something you must know by heart! If someone told me, "The shingles on the roof and the roof itself should keep you warm," I would say, "Thank you, but I will look elsewhere, have a nice day." That comment would tell me that they are unsure about what they are selling, and because they are unsure, I do not want to use the company that they represent.

This is why product knowledge is vital to sales. Without the knowledge of the product or service that you are selling, you will drown. The more you know about your product and service, the better your sales figures will be. You will be able to answer any question, overcome any obstacle and swim circles around your competition, just like Michael Phelps!

More from The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales

  1. Walking Away - 2/16/09
  2. Not Looking Customers in the Eye - 2/16/09
  3. Talking Too Much - 2/16/09
  4. Not Listening to Customers - 2/16/09
  5. Not Knowing Your Product - 2/16/09
  6. Not Being Organized - 2/16/09
  7. Getting Distracted - 2/16/09
  8. Selling Price Alone - 2/16/09
  9. Not Getting Proper Rest - 2/17/09
  10. Getting Flustered (Lack of Production) - 2/19/09
  11. Leaving Territory Too Quickly - 2/20/09
  12. Being Rude to Customers - 2/23/09
  13. Being Too Content - 2/24/09
  14. Maintaining Poor Hygiene - 2/26/09
  15. Pressuring Customers - 2/28/09
  16. Not Having Fun - 3/2/09
  17. Not Closing - 3/3/09
  18. Lacking a Powerful Introduction - 3/4/09
  19. Not Following Up With Customers - 3/6/09
  20. Not Having a Strong Mentality - 3/8/09
  21. Lacking Discipline - 3/10/09
  22. Not Handling Objections - 3/12/09
  23. Sounding Desperate - 3/14/09
  24. Having Poor Customer Service - 3/17/09
  25. Not Taking a Vacation - 3/21/09
  26. Misreading Customers - 3/27/09
  27. Lacking a Unique Sales Identity - 3/31/09
  28. Not Letting Yourself Be Known - 4/6/09
  29. Not Having Patience - 4/9/09
  30. Not Holding Yourself Accountable - 4/11/09
  31. Hitting on a Customer's Wife - 4/13/09
  32. Acting Like a Salesperson - 4/23/09
  33. Overview - 5/23/09

Sales Planning

Sales Training

Sales Features

Sales Blogs


For any questions or comments regarding the content of this site, contact Steven J. Schmidt:

e: schmidt.steven1@

For technical issues, link exchanging and advertising inquiries, contact Walter Cherepinsky: