Here is the challenge. Our customers count on technical sales people to be experts in their field. But lets face it, many sales people are not engineers. They may well have been hired because of a proven track record in sales, for their people skills rather than technical skills. So how do we deal with customer expectations despite these limitations?
Looking back on my sales and marketing career, many of the most successful sales people that I have known were not incredibly technical. What was the secret to their success? On reflection, these successful sales people may not have been experts, but they were sharp people, and they quickly learned two things. They learned enough about their products and industry to carry on an intelligent conversation with a customer, and they learned where to go to find the answers that they did not know.
As a technical sales person it is your responsibility to keep up on the technical side of your business. Read the trade journals and blogs. When your company introduces a new product, get a demo unit and take it home. Read the manual, push the buttons, find the name of the product specialist and call him before you make your first demo to find out if there are any tricks and tips to doing a successful demo. Then take the product out in the field and show it to customers. Be honest and tell them that you are just learning this product. I had a handful of customers who were keen to get hands on experience with the latest gadget, and they were keen to be guinea pigs for my first demos.
If a customer asks a question that you can’t answer, don’t try to bluff your way through an answer. Get the skills that you can, but be honest if you can’t answer a question. Use your technical support team and find an answer. Be sure to get back to your customer, even if its just to tell them that you are still working on an answer. NOT having an answer to every question proves that you have confidence in the questions that you CAN answer.
As a sales manager, it is your responsibly to facilitate your sales staff’s learning process. Make sure they have access to the demo units they need. Keep an updated list of technical support people that can be relied on. Go in the field and participate in the demos so that you can see what support is needed, and can offer support yourself. Organize regular hands on training for your people. Do it often, not just once a year at a sales meeting.
Technology is constantly changing. As a technical sales team, it is our responsibility to be constantly learning.
Is your current training programme meeting the needs of your sales team? Call us for a free, no obligation evaluation of your current programme. We can help design and implement the training that your team needs to be on top of your sales game.