Selling is something that sounds easy when you just think about the basics, but there’s a lot more that goes into it than what meets the eye. Salesmen have to know everything about the product they’re selling because if they can’t answer all the questions that the consumer throws at them, chances are they aren’t going to make that sale. Salesmen not only need to be knowledgable, but they also need to be personable. Most salesmen in this world annoy me, so when I find someone trying to sell me something that doesn’t annoy me, I’m closer to buying what they want me to. Selling to geeks comes with a whole other set of challenges because if they can sense even a hint of emotions and you trying to manipulate them, they’re extremely unlikely to buy. They just want the facts, not all these emotional stories or your opinion.

I read an article that talked about one of the main ways to sell products to nerds is to stop selling so hard. It talks about how developers tend to be pessimists and they expect stuff to break and know they’re going to have to fix it at some point. When you’re selling to nerds, or more specifically developers (in this article), speak plainly and point out the factual benefits of this product or whatever you’re selling. In a video that I watched named 15 Quick Solution Selling Tips to Close More Sales, a very business-y looking man talks about his expertise in selling. The list is as follows:

  1. Stop pitching. You shouldn’t start a conversation trying to sell to them initially, they want the seller to understand their needs before they jump right in.
  2. Drop the excitement. This isn’t to say you need to be dull and unexcited completely, just tone it down. This gets cheesy and annoying real quick.
  3. Make it about them.
  4. Understand their challenges.
  5. Know their objectives. Figure out what they’re trying to accomplish.
  6. Get clear on what accomplishing their goals will actually mean.
  7. Understand their personal motivation.
  8. Present only what matters to them.
  9. Use case studies.
  10. Stop overcoming objectives.

It’s important to tailor your sales pitch to each individual person/company you’re pitching to. Each consumer has different goals, interests, and objectives, so make sure to tailor the information you’re giving them to what they specifically would find interesting. I’m not a salesman, but when I give tours for admissions I have to change up what I say about each building or what our conversations look like based on each person. If I’m giving a tour to an athlete that is interested in biology, I’m obviously going to focus on the gym and on Snyder more so than other buildings. I show them the whole campus, but I show them different buildings more or less based on their interests. It’s important for me to be able to talk about what they enjoy doing, so they feel like they would fit in well at Greenville and when they visit other colleges, they will hopefully remember Greenville as having everything they want.

There’s a lot of shows that show how salesmen can be over the top, but one scene that is my favorite is from Friends. Joey has a salesman trying to sell encyclopedias to him and this guy comes on REALLY strong at first. He invited himself into his apartment and has this energy about him that personally, I would find irritating. Joey though loves how this guy relates to him and ends up buying a book from him so he can have better conversations with his friends.