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Three essentials needed by those selling into technical markets

Three essentials needed by those selling into technical markets:

1/ Technical knowledge

2/ Training/Coaching in Technical Sales

3/ Motivation & self-belief

Why is technical sales training and coaching so essential?

Managers will notice a lack of confidence in those new to technical sales, and sometimes even in those who have been selling in technical markets for some time.

Lack of confidence results in reduced motivation. Less motivated salespeople will under-perform.  Under-performance limits success, reducing self-belief, and so confidence dips further.  This results in reduced productivity and profitability.

Likewise, the converse is true.  Help in the form of training and coaching in technical knowledge and selling skills for technical markets will boost confidence, motivate and ensure more and faster success.

I remember clearly the time when I was a new sales engineer.  I knew that my technical knowledge was good, but not yet complete.  My confidence in selling was very low, likewise my self-belief that I was any good at selling (although I never let on!).  Clearly, my bosses had seen more in me than I had; they had more belief and confidence that I would be successful.  If I had thought of this I may have grown more quickly in the job.

A little sales training was offered and taken, but this was very general and did not address the specific issues met when selling in technical markets.  My technical knowledge was built on the job with frequent returns to the engineering lab for help and advice.  Mostly, I learned on the job.

The perceived wisdom is that for any new salesperson it would take at least a year, possibly two to become cost effective and profitable.

What if you could reduce that ‘delayed profitability’ significantly?  What if it took just a few months rather than a year or two?  Wouldn’t that result in more profitable sales, and faster?

Reducing the delay by nine months to a year would make a substantial difference to the number and value of the sales achieved.  What extra value would that be?  An extra 20 or 30% of sales from that person?  It could be more.  Put a value on that percentage.  Would it not make sense to invest a little now to reap faster and larger turnover?

They say that the average time that a good salesperson stays with one company is no more than 2-3 years.  Without training or coaching, the time when experience starts to make them profitable can be 18 months to 2 years.  They may just have become profitable to you when they decide to move on.  With good, tailored training, you could extend that profitable time by up to a year.  Now THAT IS worth the investment!

Motivation, self-belief and self-confidence come from experience and from support.  Experience takes time, but support in the form of training and coaching makes a significant difference by shortening personal development and bringing forward success.

Training and coaching result in more knowledge, skills and confidence.  And hence more sales.

Why wait?!

Time management

KEEP IT SHORT – how to save time and money using a simple ‘rule of thumb’.

Networking, contacting, following-up and generally communicating with customers and prospects are all important and sometimes essential activities when focussing on business growth.  However, at some point, this can degenerate into a more social intercourse focussing more on weather, hobbies, food or gossip than on important aspects of business.

Some social chatter is good for building relationships, but where do you draw the line?  How can we work more effectively and more efficiently?  Some estimates suggest that more than 20% of the day is spent in non-business activities, and that by far the majority of this non-business is chatter.  This can occur in face-to-face meetings (networking or meetings with customers/prospects), on the phone (have you ever timed your calls and worked out the proportion of that time spent on business?) or in emails (less so here, but then again, how succinct are you?)

Here are some Salient questions to see how you fare;

1. In any ‘phone call, what proportion of the time is spent talking about non-business issues?

2. In meeting people for the first time, how soon do you ‘get to the point’?

3. At subsequent meetings is this quicker or slower?!

4. If business is complete, how quickly can you ‘move-on’?

Are you happy with your answers?


THE RULE-OF-THUMB  comprises two questions to ask yourself at any such encounter;

  • Is this meeting/contact going to add value to my business?
  • Is this helping to grow a good business relationship?

If your answer to the first is ‘yes’, then remain focussed on your objective and make sure you achieve it, or at least move closer to it.

If it is ‘no’, keep it polite, but keep it short!

If your answer to the second is ‘yes’, then try to be succinct and business-like.

If it is ‘no’, then it is probably no more than an opportunity to socialise at best, gossip at worst.

Remember, your time costs money.  Some chatter can be helpful, but too much ‘chatter’ can prevent you from finding and taking new business opportunities.  If you can reduce this by even 10%, then you are likely to have recouped hours every month!  Those hours, used wisely, can mean more sales, more business.