We are moving ever faster
into a technology-based world where our product and service offerings are built
on a deeper technical foundation. Cell phones 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
- Understand your strengths
and weaknesses. You need to be rock solid in knowing where your strengths
lie and those of your product or service. You must play to these strengths
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 washed ashore in
- 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 stakes 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.