We are moving ever faster into a technology-based world where our product and service offerings are built on a deeper technical foundation. Cellphones can do more that “reach out and touch someone.” Customer Resource Management (CRM) solutions now span the entire supply chain process, integrating with all types of third party application programs, feed on the data, perform their analysis, and pass it along to another waiting technology process. Now, enter the Application Source Provider (ASP), who can provide you with the rights to use almost any application via the internet. Yet, the internet has become immensely technical with high-speed access, broadband services, wireless protocol, collocation, security filtering, and a host of other protocols and technology gatekeepers.
So, in light of the technology brushfire, what does the professional salesperson need to complete in the world of technology sales? Here are 7 Habits of Highly Technical Salesmanship.
Understand Who is The Technical Buyer, Stephen Heiman, Diane Sanchez, and Tad Teleja wrote The New Strategic Selling. Their work in complex selling situations has been the foundation of many successful technical salespeople. In their work, they define (4) buyers in complex selling. Technical selling tends to be complex, requiring more than one person to render a decision. Economic Buyers, User Buyers, Technical Buyers, and Coaches are the categories defined by Heiman , Sanchez, and Teleja. In selling technical items, you must know who the technical buyers are and what they are motivated by.
Understand the traits of the Technical Buyer. The technical buyer is contained in the selling process to screen out. They serve a great purpose, to screen out the technicalities. Often, they are seen as gatekeepers or the sales prevention team. Why? They need to insure your product or service meets the specifications and qualifications.
Understand what questions Technical Buyers ask, and why. The why is more important than the what. If you are selling in a technical field, seek to understand why technical buyers are asking questions. It is often their reasoning and qualification/elimination process they are using to disqualify your product or service. Often, it is the Technical Buyer’s responsibility to support the new product or service once the sale is made. They are insuring their success by reasoning and asking these questions.
Understand your strenghts and weaknesses. You need to be rock solid in knowing where your strenghts lie and those of your product or service. You must play to these strenghts when selling in a technical situation. As for understanding your weaknesses, and those of your product and service, the technical sale is virtually emotionless, and if your weakness is exposed, it will be brought to the attention of all other decision makers.
Understand how to develop your professional selling skills in the technical areas. It is your responsibility to deliver on your commitment to yourself, your employer, and your customer. No sales professional is 100% confident in every one of their skills. The more successful you become, the more skills you acquire to get there and stay there. In the technical role, technology changes at Internet speeds and you are required to stay on top of the technology curve or get whashed ashore in the aftermath.
Understand your product or service better than your competition. Technology has one thing in common; it is shared by everyone and accessible via the Internet. Meaning, you’ll need to know your product in depth. One sales professional side; “front wards, backwards, and sideways.” In this hyper competitive market you’ll be up against some very intellectual technical buyers who are willing to match their expertise against yours. Are you ready?
Understand your competition better than they know their products or services. The strikes are too high to fail in the technical world of complex selling. Gaining this knowledge requires time, focus, discipline, and dedication to your craft. It will not come overnight, or easy. Yet, what will happen if you don’t?
In summary, technical selling requires more than knowledge of the “speeds and feeds, bits and bytes,” it requires a firm understanding of the entire technical selling process. From knowing the technical buyer and their habits, to knowing your competition better than they know themselves. The rewards from graduating from the school of hard knocks is incredible insight and confidence in knowing what to say, who to say it to, and what they will ask in return. It all comes down to the technical haves and the technical have-nots.
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