Selling to Geeks

Selling to geeks can be much different than selling to business people. Typically, business-minded consumers want more of an emotional pull to the product given through stories told by the salesperson. While we do want facts, we want them intertwined with real world experiences and testimonials of the product or service being used. On the opposite end of the spectrum, geeks would rather receive facts, data, and research proving that this product is going to benefit them and that the particular brand or model is the best and most efficient.

For myself, I find that I would rather receive a mix of the two. Yes, I want to hear reviews from others who have bought and used the product or service before, however those are only significant to me if I also have data and research to back up why I need the item. I think I inherited this trait from my dad. He always wants us to do research ourselves and present him with information supporting why we think we need the latest toy or why we want to go to some event. For example, when changing my major from pre-med to marketing, I had to give a full presentation to my parents with data in support of my change. Since my parents are paying for a large portion of my education, I did not think this to be a strange request. In order to make this change, I presented them with my plan and the emotional reasons for why I wanted to have a degree in marketing as well as data and statistics on the likelihood of getting a job along with the typical salary. In the end, my parents did support my major switch, but only after I had considered all of the options and backed up this decision with prayer and research. We typically do not just make big decisions based solely on emotion in the Adams household.

In the above video, Sheldon is exhibiting very typical geek behavior in relation to selling, according to the authors of The Geek Leader’s Handbook. Sheldon showed very little emotion, the only real hint of emotional response we see is excitement about potentially selling his computer to the son. Even when bringing the cushion in to have a service provided for him, Sheldon goes through a process of selling his need to the worker at the dry cleaners. Did he need to do this? Probably not, but he felt like he needed to explain why he was bringing the cushion in, convince the guy he needed to clean it for him, and then also make sure that this business is where Sheldon wanted to have the service done. Instead of asking for emotional stories about customer satisfaction from the worker, Sheldon focuses on the details of the cleaning to be sure that he was paying for a thorough service. From what I have read in this book and the geeks I have been exposed to, this video seems to illustrate perfectly the inner workings of the geek brain when in a sales situation.

In the above graphic is another illustration of how a geek would potentially operate in a business meeting. They would not want the presenter to confront them with emotional stories as to how the company is doing and suggestions in moving forward. Only after looking at data, such as the bar graph, would the geek want to take further action.

As businesspeople as well as general members of society, we must remember that everyone operates differently. Just because we want to be convinced to make a purchase off of testimonials doesn’t mean that everyone prefers that. The most important part of selling or working in business, as I’ve learned in this class, is that no matter what, we must be mindful of our consumers and colleagues. Know the people you work with and know your target so that regardless of the information, you can reach them efficiently and effectively.

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