BSBCUE309 – Evaluate the Full Range of Products and Services in a Designated Area of Business Copy
Element 2: Evaluate the Full Range of Products and Services in a Designated Area of Business
Performance Criteria Element 2
2.1 Use a range of information sources to identify the range of products and services in a designated area of business
2.2 Compare features, benefits, strengths and weaknesses of the range of products and services available
2.3 Establish relative standing of the organisation’s products and services with the alternatives to communicate differences to the buyer or user.
Evaluate the Full Range of Products and Services in a Designated Area of Business
Use a Range of Information Sources to Identify Range of Products and Services in a Designated Area of Business
Knowing at least the basics about your product is critical to selling it effectively. However, understanding your product is even more helpful. The difference between product knowledge and product understanding, The difference between product knowledge and product understanding, is that ‘knowledge’ refers to the facts and figures, whereas ‘understanding’ is how the facts and figures affect the product owner.
Often, we tend to deal with the same specific products and services, while the broader range of them are used less frequently. We become so familiar with the same specific products and services that the less frequently used ones are not thought about when speaking with customers.
This is not a good practice because it disadvantages the business (through potential loss of sales) and the customer (through not meeting their needs with a more appropriate product or service).
Product knowledge vs. product understanding is quite similar to the contrast between features and benefits. And just as ‘features tell, benefits sell’, focusing on product knowledge without product understanding, misses the mark. Product knowledge is absolutely essential but must be coupled with product understanding and it must include the full range of products.
The best way to make the leap between the few and the many products or services is to try for yourself, then the next best option is to do a little market research. Set up short phone appointments with a few of your best customers and ask them to tell you about their experiences with your company’s products. Try to make it clear that you want brutal honesty, since there will almost always be ways in which your products are both good and bad and the more you know about both aspects, the better.
Having a thorough understanding of all the products or services available can allow the use of different techniques and methods of presenting the product to customers. Stronger communication skills will allow the adaptation of a sales presentation for the various types of customers.
If a customer isn’t fully committed to completing a sale, the difference may simply be the presence (or lack) of confidence that you have toward the product. Becoming educated in the product and its uses will help cement that confidence.
Objections made by customers may be struck down with factual information regarding the product. That information usually comes in the form of product knowledge. Being well versed in not only your products, but similar products sold by competitors, allows you to easily counter objections.
You can gain reliable product knowledge from:
• Marketing literature
• Sales reps
• Training sessions
• Role playing
• Practical use.
It may take a while to easily articulate your product knowledge, especially when you are trying to cover all products or new products, but over time you’ll become comfortable and confident in providing the correct information to customers. That confidence will pay off in improved results.
Compare Features, Benefits, Strengths and Weaknesses of Range of Products and Services Available
The ability to compare the products or services is important to be able to accurately match the customer need and product, or service available. Often many products or services will closely resemble each other and understanding the purpose and benefits of each is very useful in assisting others to make good choices.
We covered evaluating the product or service in Element 1 and looked at the broader range of products in the first section of Element 2. Now you must compare them. Comparison is actually another part of the learning process.
‘Compare’ is defined as estimating, measuring, or noting the similarity or dissimilarity between given items. We compare items for two reasons:
1. To Explain
You might compare and contrast kinds of food, for instance, to help someone understand which food needs to be refrigerated and which can be stored in a cabinet or in a bowl on the counter.
2. To Evaluate
You might compare and contrast kinds of food to show why one kind of food or brand of food is better than another. For example, apples are a better snack than butter.
When you choose items to compare and contrast, make sure that you choose items that have similarities. You have to choose things that will make sense for comparison and contrast. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to compare a toaster with a washing machine. Be sure to compare things that belong together.
When you compare items, you look for their similarities – the things that make them the same.
• Apples and oranges are both fruit
• They’re both foods
• Both are made into juice
• Both grow on trees.
When you contrast items, you look at their differences. For example:
• Apples are red, oranges are orange.
• The fruits have different textures
• Oranges need a warmer place to grow, like Brisbane. Apples can grow in cooler states, like Victoria.
You probably use comparison all the time. Maybe you want to buy a magazine, so you go to the store and look at all of the magazines that are available. You can’t buy all the magazines, so you have to narrow down your choices.
You compare and contrast the different kinds of magazines so that you can make your decision.
It’s important to make sure that you balance the information about the items that you’re comparing and contrasting. You need to be sure that you give them equal time.
Using a chart like the one below could be useful.
The basis for comparison should cover many of the items that would be used in a SWOT analysis as discussed in Element 1, and indeed you could produce a SWOT analysis for each item.
However, the same degree of detail is not required for this chart. Just make sure it covers:
• The features
• The benefits
• The strengths
• The weaknesses.
These should be documented in a manner that allows you to quickly refer to each product and refresh your memory.
But it does not stop there. You should also compare and contrast the competitor’s products so that you not only know what their benefits are, but to allow you to counter all of the perceived advantages with the greater benefits of your product or service.
Establish Relative Standing of Organisation’s Products and Services with Alternatives, to Communicate Differences to Buyer or User
A competitor is a person or store which sells products/services similar to your own and which could, therefore, provide for customer needs more effectively than your store.
Ways to find out what your organisations competitor is offering:
• read your competitor’s product catalogues, supplier and manufacturer’s brochures, trade journals
• observe the store, its presentation and its product displays
• observe the number and type of customers who patronise the business
• observe purchases made by the competitor’s customers
• use the products, and also equipment
• attend trade and product nights, and trade fairs
• use the internet to find out about your competitor’s business and product/ service lines
How to Encourage Customers to Purchase from your Organisation?
Dependent on organisation. However, your customers, particularly those with whom you have not yet built a relationship, will want to know why they should deal with your enterprise. You will need to be able to provide them with information about the organisation, its history and its current performance with regard to sales, sales service, after sales service, pricing of goods and services and the quality of the goods and services you offer.
Finding the point of difference
The challenge for the salesperson is to find the point of difference when presenting an offer to customers. This will only come through researching your competitors and finding what it is that you can offer that others cannot.
Your point of difference will come from one of two areas:
• the organisation
How Are Our Products Rated?
Once you have completed your product comparisons, you are in a position to begin to rate them. How you decide to rate them will depend on the intended use of the ratings. If you are listing features to help you to quickly consider the suitability of a product for a client, you may want to put the information into a table.
If you are using the system to determine the merit of your product and the competition, then a chart of benefits may be useful.
Think carefully of how you intend to use the information that you have attained. Consider how quickly you will have to find specific information and how much detail you may require. Once you have decided these points, you can place your material in a suitable format.
Your organisation may have already prepared a method of reference so check first – no need to re-invent the wheel.
Factors that could influence a customer’s choice:
• location and trading hours
• product or service availability (does a waiting period apply)
• store and product access
• quality of customer service
• product knowledge of sales staff
• payment options (lay-by, store credit cards, eftpos)
• appearance and atmosphere of the store
• comfort and ease of shopping
• other products and services offered within the environment
• giveaways or add-ons
• organisation reputation/image
• organisation recommendations from friends and acquaintances
• ethics of the store (e.g. organisations against animal testing, clothing purchased from sweatshop wholesalers)
• packaging appearance/ environmental considerations
• post sales service—wrapping, bagging, parcel pick-up, delivery or installation, servicing, maintenance, repairs, support, help desk or online
• previous experiences when shopping at the store
• warranties and warranty conditions
Customers do not only purchase products. They purchase what is known as a bundle. That is, they purchase a product plus the associated service.
When the newspaper is delivered in the morning, we are customers for both a product (the newspaper) and a service (the delivery). When we turn on the electricity, we are customers for both the product (electricity) and the service (delivery). When we purchase goods from a hardware shop we expect that the service offered in the store will enable us to make the correct purchase with ease. When we purchase a sandwich in a delicatessen we expect fast, friendly, efficient service and hygienic food handling procedures.
• A range of information sources must be used to identify the range of products and services in a designated area of business
• The features, benefits, strengths and weaknesses of the range of products and services must be compared
• The relative standing of the organisation’s products and services with the alternatives must be established to communicate differences to the buyer or user