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Product knowledge is a necessity, but sometimes too much can be a dangerous thing. Think about your presentation and the type of people you're addressing. Extensive data, four-syllable words, and the latest technical phrases have their place, but if you use them constantly, your prospect's mind might start to wander. At what point will your words and phrases start to make no sense?

A recent survey showed that even the most credible people speak using mostly one and two syllable words--basically, words that a 12-year old can understand!

While it's essential that you're equipped with all of the latest information, it's not always imperative that your prospects be the same. Techspeak is great if your customers speak the same language, but how can you be sure that they do? Is that head-nod really a sign of understanding, or are they dust doing it to be polite? Are they answering, "Yes..." because they're on the same wavelength as you, or have you lost them?

For example: A prospect walks into a camera store. He tells the salesperson he's looking for a camera that is easy to operate, can take professional-looking pictures, plus has the option of manual operation. The salesperson has just the one he's looking for. He explains that all the prospect has to do is aim at the subject, push the button and--that's it; great pictures.

The prospect likes what he sees and is about to say, "I'll take it," when the salesman jumps into his technical speech. "If you want to shoot manually, this little machine will do everything," he says. "You can plan with lighting, eliminate shadows, reduce this, increase that, control glare."

He them tells him all of the new "state-of-the-art" features, and shows him the owner's manual written in two languages. Ten minutes later he's still attesting to all the virtues, the technical qualities, the capabilities, the workmanship. The customer finally gets a word in edgewise and does what every good customer does when they are stymied by a salesperson: he say, "Let me have your card, I'll go home and think it over."

This is not to say that you should talk down to your customers, but often a major presentation made up of prolific terms and state-of-the-art verbiage can be less than impressive. If your prospect isn't responding in the same words that you're throwing out, it might be time to switch gears. Be careful. You might only be part of the way through your presentation when your prospect starts to think "Which way to the door?"

When in doubt talk in simple terms. You'll be understood a lot better.

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