product-516283_640Don’t get me wrong. Salespeople most definitely need product knowledge.

But, what they don’t need is the typical product knowledge training that runs through a lengthy list of features and benefits that are impossible to memorize.

Instead, consider developing training that helps salespeople anticipate and answer questions prospects might have about those products.

To get started, brainstorm the following four lists of questions:

1) Questions about the product

2) Questions about how the product compares to a previous version, if applicable

3) Questions about how the product compares to similar products you sell, if applicable

4) Questions about how the product compares to the competition’s offerings

Develop one training lesson to answer each set of questions. In the case of competitors, develop one training lesson per competitor.

The elegance of this approach is twofold.

First, you are training salespeople to do exactly what you want them to do: position the product to make the sale. By anticipating the questions and studying the answers, they can proactively present information matched to the prospect’s needs or reactively respond to the prospect’s questions with on-target answers.

Second, you naturally build in a certain amount of repetition. This is because you’ll most likely anticipate and answer similar questions in a similar manner for each competitor, for example. You want product knowledge to quite literally roll off a salesperson’s tongue. Repetition helps build this level of mastery.

So, consider replacing features and benefits training with this more customer-focused approach to get your sales team up to speed on new products (or services) quickly.