Well, according to Dan Caramanico, a Sales Force Development Expert and author of the book “The Optimal Salesperson,” it’s no different than selling to the average Joe. He actually goes as far as saying that most people whom are not technologically savvy themselves usually bring their technical people with them to help do the mediating in making the sale, but end up hindering the situation, and derailing the sale, instead of improving the chances of making the sale. So, case and point, don’t fret over selling to technical people. They are human, just like you and can be sold to. You just have to, what’s that saying, oh yea, “Just do it!”
While, on the other hand, that’s not what Babette Ten Haken says in her article, “Selling to Technical People – How well do you work with Engineers?” She thinks that it is important to understand how to communicate with technical people and gives some tips on how to do so. First, she says that you need to be wise with your words. Words are extremely important to engineers and the choice of words. This is because technical people are very literal and if you are not careful with your words, it will be hard to build their trust. Second, she says that you need to figure out who you are and where you stand in retrospect to the technical person. Technical people are extremely smart and go through rigorous course after rigorous course. They are in the position that they are in for a reason. Could you do what they do, probably not, so don’t insult them. Third, she says to understand that you and the technical person are going to view the situation from two completely different perspectives. This is okay, as long as you understand that and can utilize it to your benefit. Fourth and finally, she says that you should not be afraid to ask your technical colleagues questions. You need to give yourself the option to think and use your resources. Haken says that sales is no longer being a walking textbook, but being willing to learn, ask questions, and admitting that you don’t have all of the answers.
Further, in the text, “The Geek Leaders Handbook,” Both Paul Glen and Maria McManus talk about how technical people can be tough customers. They say that technical people have emotions and intuition just like everyone else, but they prefer the facts. “Geeks Value an objectively verifiable reality far above a subjective experience.” You have to access their emotions through reason. Even more so, if you really want to get them, you have to articulate a clear problem statement. Clear problem statements are statements that provide clarity, value, and fun for them. Technical people love challenges. Do these things and you will be golden.
Okay, so what are my personal thoughts on all of this? Well, I think that they are both correct in their thinking to, some degree or another. The reason I say this is because I think for some people selling comes more naturally and they have the ability to adapt to the situation. This can give someone an upper hand over the person who has to get advice, but also leaves room for over confidence and not doing one’s home work. For others, though, they will need some guidance and will have a harder time learning. Because of this, the above tips will come in mighty handy. All in all, you have to figure out which category you fall into and run with it.
Rock on and sell to them Geeks!