How to support your technicians & engineers sell more effectively

I don’t know about you but with less than 2 weeks until the next lot of the lockdown measures are lifted and we take a step towards pre pandemic normality it seems that businesses are ramping up efforts and the wheels of industry are certainly turning at a more accelerated pace.

Sales conversations are flowing and business confidence is on the ascendancy which has been reflected in the upgrading of UKs growth forecast over the past few weeks.

An effective sign of business confidence is when opportunities surface, the team moves around and people get promoted and we are certainly seeing signs of that!

This is a great thing, right? Absolutely! However it does come with a caveat, just how well thought out are these moves? How much consideration is given to enable a successful transition? And how well supported is the recently promoted team member? No one can question the good intent behind the move and equally it is up to the incumbent to prove themselves and make a success of their new position. That said, there are also potential “unforeseen” traps that can lie ahead that would neither be the fault of the incumbent nor their employer.

This happens a lot in my world whether that’s sales professionals becoming sales leaders or engineers and technical personnel moving into sales positions. In this post I’ll be covering the latter scenario. 

In industry it’s very common for technical personnel to be moved into sales positions and rightly so owing to their deep understanding of the product or service they sell and the value they bring. Yet this can equally pose a problem and cause friction in the sales process.

By nature they are typically detail oriented. However if they are engaging with buyers who are not then their tendency to go deep could potentially be baffling to the buyer and scare them off thus shutting down the conversation there and then.

What is happening in this scenario is that the technical sales person is far too immersed in their world and their solution to consider what is going on in their prospects world and how their offer could solve their prospects problems. This requires a shift in thinking to avoid a potentially combative conversation which could result in a dead end and silence. What you’re looking to do is get the prospect to open up and lean into your solution, receptive to your ideas.

Getting back to basics, selling is about changing the buyer's state - what you are asking them to do is change their status quo, move out of their comfort zone and step into your solution. You’re looking to create a transformation and that is an incredibly uncomfortable experience for anyone - so with that in mind it’s about creating the right environment for the sales conversation to take place.

So what can be done? Create the right environment for the conversation to take place. Think about the buyer's journey and put the systems in place to support them through it. Develop customer centric processes to enhance their experience of working with you. After all, the sales process will define how they perceive working with you after the contract has been signed.

Some simple steps to do this are:

1. Learn what their challenges are then define what they are to verify you have understood

2. To do this requires active listening to appreciate what's going on in their world

3. Share readily based on what you have learned. Provide them with information that is relevant, timely and thoughtful. Anything that will bring value to the relationship and will support them in considering their buying options

4. Deliver value. You will know what this is having taken the time to listen and learn as noted in the previous points

5. Earn trust. You must earn the right to develop the relationship and make the sale

6. Create a feedback loop where you're constantly looking to improve your offer based on how the conversation goes

So let’s put this in context of the technical sales person. Although their in-depth knowledge and technical expertise is indeed an asset - and the reason they have been selected to represent your organisation - they don’t need to put it all out there at the earliest opportunity and potentially overwhelm the audience. Discuss the pertinent issues as they arise and mention anything that is relevant to the conversation at the time it becomes relevant. You may well need to delve into your knowledge bank at some stage and when this happens, ensure it makes the right impact rather than risk blowing their mind apart.

Showing a little restraint could pay dividends and remember, less is more!

I would love to know your thoughts on the topic so feel free to comment however if you want to understand more about the revenue generation ability of your business then click here to take the FREE scorecard.