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High tech is not always an easy thing for salespeople to sell. First, there is a credibility issue; when people see the word “sales” on your business card, you can lose credibility. Listen, you may have been a director of engineering in your previous position before moving into sales; maybe you’re a full-blown technology guru.
But the minute you switch over to sales, your credibility is immediately challenged. Tough and unfair as this may seem, it’s 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 will be skewed by your desire to make that sale. Engineers are much more trusted for telling the truth than sales engineers, so it is always difficult to sell technology, regardless of your background.
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 how they do it. When you go out in the field, you are going to have to explain your technology to 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 the customer is asking for something that 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 the way of 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 he’s there for.
- Have a complete, thorough understanding of what your customer needs. He night be telling you that he needs high tech when he does not. He might be calling out a very expensive laminate that he 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 lower-priced product. Your job in selling technology is to provide your customer with the very best and, yes, most economical solution you can. You have a relationship, a partnership with your customer. It is not a one-time used car buyer-beware kind of deal. You want to stick around for a long time, which means you have to build trust with your customers. This means you have to provide them with the best technical solution possible.
- Make sure that you have a complete understanding of your customer’s end-product. 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 where your boards will be operating, and what kind of wear and tear they will be exposed to. Boards that are going into a rocket 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.
- Learn what your customer’s future looks like. Where do they plan to be in one 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 finally, one more…
- Always take the high road. Always put the customer first and always do the right thing for your customers. You might lose out in the short term but you will always win in the long run and that’s only common sense.