Targeting Sales to Geeks

The final chapter in our book is titled “Selling to Geeks”, the whole chapter is dedicated to the topic of selling things to geeks. As our book is written by a geek, like myself, we understand what and why we buy things. It’s a lot different than the general population who isn’t soul-bent on using logic, analytics and critical-thinking for every single decision – which includes buying or selling.

When doing research on the topic of selling to geeks, very little was found online, and in fact, everything that I found, was written by our author Paul Glen. He has actually made a couple of different programs to learn how to best target geeks for selling things to. One of his programs, is: Selling to Geeks: Closing Deals with Tough Customers, which has “5 Geek-specific sales strategies, 4 Ways to motivate geeks using problem statements, 3 Steps to making your benefits more believable, 5 Do’s and Don’ts of using risk management as a persuasive tool, How to build rapport with geeks, Telltale signs of geek excitement.” Beyond stuff that Paul has written, there is little available.

So I figured a good approach would be to look at how traditional salesmen sell things, their tactics and tips, and then go through the chapter and look at how our author advises salesmen to sell things to geeks so that you can very clearly see the contrast and the differences between the two methods.

The article that I chose to look through is called “7 Psychological Strategies for Mastering Sales Negotiations“, written by Sherrie Campbell. So quickly going through the 7 things:

  1. Eliminate Anxiety: Consumers like having options, so make sure to provide a lot of options. This will allow you to feel less stress or anxiety to push a single product.
  2. Score a Small Yes or Two: Don’t just assume that customers will say yes to everything. Make sure you value even small successes.
  3. Take Advantage of Listening: People like feeling listened to. Make them feel understood and it may help you land sales better.
  4. Choose a “Partner” Approach: When you are trying to push a sale, make them feel like you’re right there partnering with them and not pushing against them.
  5. Think Existentially: Put yourselves in their shoes, it’ll help them feel like you’re understanding them, and in turn help you out.
  6. Put People First, Numbers Second: This may seem counter-intuitive, but when you think about it, if you only worry about the money, and don’t make the people feel like you care about them, you might not have them care about you in the future to buy again.
  7. Mimic the Emotional Environment: This one seems pretty obvious, just make sure you are fitting into whatever emotional environment you find yourself in. Play emotions of the environment to your advantage.

So a lot of things that Sherrie mentions, above, are really good and useful tips for selling, and a lot of them are even still valid to help sell to geeks, but there are some other strategies and methods mentioned in our book that are really needed to help focus in on geeks and selling specifically to them.

Access Emotions Through Reason

Geeks do have emotions, we just don’t trust them in the same way that non-geeks do. When we feel emotional impulses, they are run through the same analytical or strategic reasoning that we do when we are problem-solving, therefore, salesmen need to target our emotions differently. Instead of playing to emotions and trying to get impulsive decisions, you need to play to our emotions by getting us to think through the emotions logically.

Articulate Clear Problem Statements, Not Pain Points

In this section our author talks about how geeks like the problem and solution model. Present us with a problem, and then the solution for the problem. Make it clear and precise. It doesn’t need to be more, at all. Like nothing.

Clarify How Benefits Are Achieved

Salesmen are taught that you need to focus on the benefits, but we as geeks also want to know how those benefits are achieved. I don’t care if you can say it can make me fly, I want to know HOW it is going to make me fly.

Build Rapport By Focusing On Work

We value relationships and personal connections, but we get suspicious if they are over-emphasized. We don’t need you to be always asking us about our spouse or or kids, and so forth. We want to see that you care. Focus on work and we’ll begin to trust you, eventually.

Manage Risk, Don’t Just Handle Objections

Geeks want to see that you have thought things through. Tell us the potential flaws in your product before we ask, which is great way to start earning our trust. Typical sales advice would be to hide them under a rug until the potential customer asks about them specifically. For geeks, you have to revert this thought process.

How Geeks Show Excitement

The final piece of the book talks about how geeks show excitement. You aren’t going to see what you normally would with other folks. You can tell that we geeks are excited when we invest time and energy in something. If we aren’t analyzing it, it isn’t worth our time, and we don’t care.

In conclusion, there are a lot of good ways to sell things to people, and they still apply to geeks, there are just some caveats to be mindful of when selling things to geek. Us geeks see the world differently than suits, we are very predictable, and finally, a few small adaptations to regular sales strategies will go a long way for closing deals with geeks. Paul says one of the most important thing for salesmen to do is to know their customer, and this is just an extension of that – understanding and knowing geeks.

Enjoy the sales images below.

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