When you run a business, your catalog probably signals a few key things to you: sales, marketing, or organization, are some examples. And at the core, when you list off those things, your reference point is your customers, in that your product catalog is designed to market products to your customers. But what does your catalog add to your office? How does it serve your staff?
If you don’t think your catalog has anything to offer as an internal business tool, you’re missing an important opportunity. Your product catalog is actually one of the most valuable tools you have at your disposal for training your staff, particularly your sales team. If your catalog is meant to tell your customers everything they need to know about your products, then that information is also highly valuable to the people who sell those products. How can you sell a client what they need if you don’t know the product forward and backward?
Whether you haven’t used your product catalog as part of staff training or you haven’t assembled a comprehensive catalog quite yet, it’s time to adjust your training and sales strategies.
Here are four ways iQuoteXpress can help you put your company’s catalog to work. You’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!
Know What Your Team Knows
To be able to train your team effectively, you need to have a clear understanding of what they know and what they need to learn more about, and there are a few ways to achieve this information. First, you might observe knowledge gaps while directly supervising employees or while having them role-play sales. These knowledge gaps will take the form of questions they can’t answer or information they repeatedly fail to give to clients. Take note of this information because the fewer times they rehearse a product specification, the more they drill into memory a script that excludes that information.
Another way to determine what your staff knows about your products is by brainstorming questions with them. Be sure you make this a no-judgment space because you need team members to feel confident asking you for basic information that may have slipped by during training. Once you make a comprehensive list of questions about your products, you can then devise training units that will answer those questions and reinforce that new product knowledge.
Make It Practical
It’s amazing how often we expect people to sell products they don’t actually know how to use. In fact, across much of the consumer marketplace, this may actually be the norm. But unlike selling a blender or a sweater, a lot of the products we sell aren’t exactly intuitive. That’s why it makes no sense to expect your team to sell software or other complex products without hands-on experience.
To make the training practical and link it to the sales process, don’t just teach your team to use the products, but help them to build concrete links between your product and the sales copy. As they get a handle on the product, ask your sales reps to show you how a given part of the copy is made evident when actually using the product – how do component parts of a modular home fit together and how is that represented, for example? If these connections aren’t evident, you may have identified a bigger problem with your catalog.
An intuitive e-catalog should draw clear connections between products, a feature that iQuoteXpress emphasizes. Your catalog should help your customers move easily from one category to the next, building a product tree or other set of component relationships. Look for this as you review components with your staff and revise the catalog if necessary – this will benefit everyone.
Consider Reading And Speaking
What constitutes clearly written catalog copy – words on a page – is often different from what makes sense in spoken form, which is why rehearsing the catalog or drilling product information by reading the catalog over and over again isn’t enough. Rather, you need your staff to read over the information and then deliver it again verbally to see if there are any spoken snags. Redundant or awkward phrases can trip up a whole product presentation, so weed those out before staff members try to make this formatting leap.
Know The Competitor Catalogs
Your company’s catalog isn’t the only one that’s useful to you in the training process – your sales team needs to know the competitors’ catalogs as well. And while it can be helpful to keep a few of these on hand as reference points when handling sales calls, it will be more natural and more convincing if your staff know this content as well as they know their own.
Focus some of your training on teaching key catalog-based comparison points to your sales team. With the exception of potential clients looking to change companies, most clients will have a competitor’s catalog in front of them as they try to comparison shop while on the phone with your reps. Your team needs to know how to answer these questions while keeping the focus on your products, so give them the resources to take on this challenge.
Prioritizing Your Products
Your catalog is one of the first places clients will go to learn more about your products, so why not hone a sales process that acknowledges this process and works to grow client interest from there? By designing catalogs meant to serve both clients and staff members, iQuoteXpress recognizes how important your products are, as well as how significant investing in a catalog can be – if it’s done right. While a low quality catalog will be quickly thumbed through and then tossed in the bin, a great catalog is a value added tool.
Contact iQuoteXpress today to discuss how you can enhance your sales catalog as a tool for internal training, while keeping it interesting for customers, or to learn more about the advantages of great e-catalog design.
We guarantee that we can help you look at your product catalog in a whole new light.