In the business scene many people pigeonhole others into roles they believe are best match with their personality. It is also a popular believe that specific types of skills are essential to be a salesman. For example having an creative bent is coveted to thrive as a marketer or even having a warmhearted personality as a necessity to succeed in the training department. In addition, it’s seldom for a person to add real value to a different role outside of their original department. It doesn’t have to be this way always.
Although as a person working in sales or marketing, it may seem like your role has nothing in common with those technical roles like engineering. But to advance your business-to-business(B2B) sales approach, changing your mindset and thinking like an engineer might just be what you need to do. The reason being that engineers perceive challenges differently, they tend to see the bigger picture when solving problems due to their analytical and methodical way of working. So should you.
Learning new skills can sometimes feel like becoming the “jack of all trades, master of none’, but there are important lessons that can be learned. Having a grasp of the complexity in engineering may seem like another language, but the sales people who brave the storm to understand this fascinating sector are effective at their job. The opposite is also true, engineers who are skilled in thinking like salespeople, develop a knack for detecting opportunities and can actively provide excellent value with existing clients.
Instead of just answering customer’s questions, ask some questions yourself. This is the approach an engineer takes when trying to find a solution for a technical problem. They’ll cover everything that needs to be known about the customers challenge and identify how their process can solve those challenges. And also how stakeholders in the sales can be affected.
To a great degree, the ethos behind the actual question is the important thing. Whiles questions like “What are you trying to do?” may seem obvious; it can help you express your objectives if answered without using any jargon. It is also important to be aware of current systems in place to manage the problem at hand and how it limits what is possible.
If the sale is centred around an innovative process, you should ponder on questions such as “what's new in the approach” and “why will the approach work”. Think ahead to if the process is a success and ask about those who will care and the benefits the new process will bring. It’s also important to take into consideration the risks and the payoffs involved. The important question, and the last question to ask is “How much will it cost” and “How much time will it take? Indeed, when it boils down to the bottom line, both the salesperson and the engineer think a like.
Essentially, these types of questions will be your guidance, especially when dealing with a tough B2B selling opportunity. For an experienced salesperson, changing the way you think like an Engineer may appear eccentric, but it might just be the approach to revamp your B2B sales approach.