Product Knowledge is Different Than Sales Skills Knowledge – by Jeb Brooks

A few weeks ago, I was at a meeting in Phoenix. While I was there, someone posed a fairly interesting question, “I know you’re in ‘sales training.’ What’s up with all of the products? How do your facilitators learn enough about all of your clients’ offerings to teach them?”

Well, my answer was fairly straightforward. And I think others who offer sales skills training would agree with it.

Sales skills training and product training are two, very different things. But, too often, the line gets blurred. Learning the features and benefits of your offering is vastly different from learning the skills required to effectively sell it. Sales skills training can be applied to any product offering.

In other words, selling skills are not about what you know about your product. Instead, they’re about how good you are at accessing what you know and applying it in a meaningful and relevant way to your prospect’s problems.

Salespeople often get distracted by their offerings. They can become so passionate about their products or services that they begin to think their offering can solve whatever problem is presented — even when it’s not in a prospect’s best interest. When that happens, they suffer from product obsession. They should focus, instead, on their customers and prospects.

The best salespeople accept that their solution won’t solve every problem; they’re willing to walk away from situations they can’t effectively address. This can result in lost opportunities, but it also results in better time management.

Product knowledge is only as valuable as a person’s ability to ask effective questions to gain a meaningful understanding of what a prospect is looking to accomplish.

Those skills are significantly different than understanding how your product works.

As professional salespeople, we are all in the same boat. We want to encourage prospects who could benefit from our offering to purchase it.

The challenge comes when we fail to appropriately match our offerings to our prospects. And, in most cases, that occurs when we fail to adequately understand precisely what our prospects’ challenges are. Rather than seek to understand their challenges, we start talking about what we have in our “bags.”

Seek instead to understand whether you can help your prospects. They appreciate salespeople who genuinely have their best interest in mind. Unfortunately, they’re used to salespeople who don’t…


Jeb Brooks is President and CEO of The Brooks Group, one of the world’s Top Ten Corporate Sales Training Firms as ranked by Selling Power Magazine. Jeb authored the second edition of the book “Perfect Phrases for the Sales Call,” the popular book “High IMPACT Selling,” and writes for The Brooks Group’s Sales Training Blog, “Sales Evolution.” He can be reached at + 1 (336) 282-6303 or on the web at


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