Wouldn’t You Study What You Sell?

I just got off the phone with another salesman. I was frustrated, worn out and well let’s just say a bit peeved. It has nothing to do with telemarketing, I called them.

I’m in the market for a piece of equipment – it doesn’t really matter what kind at this juncture. In the past it’s been computers, cell phones, vehicles, specific software, etc. and the story is almost always the same: I know more about their product than they do.

I admit I’m a bit of a fanatic when I get ready to buy something, I’m a researcher by nature and I want to know every spec, read every review, investigate every feature and compare every competitor (not to mention price) before I settle on a product and plunk down my hard earned cash. The result is I research relentlessly before I buy.

My fanaticism has lead me to being somewhat sympathetic to the poor salesmen I encounter who have to take questions pertaining to chipset iterations, data plans, valve lift, or upgrade schedules and more depending on the product I’m looking for. But then, how generous to I have to be? Isn’t it the salesman’s job to know his merchandise?

Within reason shouldn’t the salesman know more about the stuff he sells than the people who walk through the door to buy it? Even when I worked for a popular retailer and sold thousands of items I made it my business to know as many of them as possible with some level of intimacy. When I sold shotguns I learned their specifications, chamber capacities and even studied their competitors comparative literature. When customer asked about a Winchester 1300 I could diligently compare and contrast all of it’s features to a Remington 870 and a Mossberg 500.

When I sold paint I knew the difference between flat, semi gloss and eggshell; not to mention the adhesion differences for different labels of paint that I sold.

When I worked on computers I studied everything I could about them, and whenever I would finally call tech support I always had to ask for a third level support tech because I was smarter than the first two screen readers that answered the phone.

It has gotten to the point that I never expect to get an individual on the phone who knows as much as I do about their product: how sad is that.