Selling high technology is not always an easy thing for sales people. First, there is a credibility issue, when people see the word “sales” on your business card you can lose credibility. Listen, you could have been a director of engineering in your previous position before moving into sales; you could have been a full-blown technology guru but the minute you switch over to sales and people see that word “sales” on your card your credibility is immediately challenged. Tough and unfair as this may seem its true. The reason for this is simple. If you have the word sales on your card people assume you are trying to sell them something and will do anything to make that sale. They also assume that whatever advice you give them about technology is no longer fully valid because they harbor the suspicion that anything you tell them, any advice you give them will be skewed by wanted to make that sale. Engineers are much more trusted for telling the truth than sales engineers so no matter what your background be it technical or non it is always difficult to sell technology.
So, to help you out here are five guidelines for successfully selling high technology products to your customers.
- Make sure you have a complete understanding of what high technology means and exactly what your company can offer. You must have a good working knowledge of your company’s technology. You should know exactly what you company can do and yes how they do it. When you go out in the field you are going to have to explain your technology to your customers so you’d better know what you’re talking about.
- You also must know when to bring in the experts. You should be able to figure out when what the customer is asking for is beyond your basic knowledge and then bring in your company’s technology guru. This is serious, don’t let pride or ego get in your way to a successful sale. And whatever you do, don’t try to wing it and come up with technical scenarios on your own. If you don’t know something there is nothing wrong with going to your expert. That’s what she’s there for.
- Have a complete and thorough understanding of what your customer needs. He night be telling you that he needs high tech when he does not. She might be calling out a very expensive laminate that she doesn’t really need. If you know a better way to do something you have an obligation to tell your customer…even if it means selling them a lesser priced product. Your job in selling technology is to provide your customer with the very best and yes, most economical solution you can. Yours is a relationship type of partnership with your customer. It is not a one-time used car type buyer beware kind of deal. You want to stick around for a long time which means you have to build trust with your customers which means you have to provide them with the best technical solution possible.
- Make sure that you have a complete understanding of what your customer’s end product is. What are your boards going into. If you know that then you will know how your boards fit into this product and have a much more complete understanding of the environment your boards are going to see and also what kind of wear and tear they will be exposed to. Boards that are going into a Rocket for example need much more strenuous CTE management parameters than those going into a medical device. So, know what kind of products your boards are going to be used in.
- And finally learn what your customer’s future will look like. Where do they plan to be in a year? Or five years? What are their long-term goals and how can you help them to achieve those goals? This is a critical factor in a long-term relationship. You not only want to meet your customers’ needs today but also be ready to meet them in the future as well.
And one more always under-promise and over deliver.
6. Always take the high road. Always put the customer first and always do the right thing for you customers. You might lose out in the short term but you will always win in the long run and that’s only common sense.