Sales engineers have become adept at discovering customers’ needs and selling them “solutions”, generally combinations of products and services. This works in case customers didn’t know how to solve their own problems. But what happens in case customers have a good understanding of what their problems are. Some companies can readily define solutions for themselves. A consultative sales approach is not enough in these cases, to become a high-performing sales professional it’s needed to improve networking skills and sell in innovative ways. You have to sell results, not just products or solutions.
Most sales engineers could think that an invitation to bid for a requirement whose engineering was developed by another company is probably destined to be awarded to a selected vendor, and it is not worth it. Nevertheless, great sales engineers use the occasion to reframe the discussion and turn a customer with clearly defined requirements into one with emerging needs. Even when they are invited in late, high-performing sales engineers connect with the decision-maker and try to rewind the purchasing decision to a much earlier stage.
Sell yourself; since most people you are selling to likely don’t possess a strong understanding of how your product works from a technical standpoint, your sales strategy needs to get them to trust you. Great sales engineers look for people inside the customer’s organization to help them. Look for people that are accessible and willing to meet, people that provide valuable information, are good at influencing other colleagues, are predisposed to support your solution, and will help network and connect with other stakeholders.
Some customers are strongly oriented toward the status quo. They have little interest in speaking with outside vendors or looking for better solutions. They don’t want to be asked. How to handle this kind of people? The first step is to gauge a customer’s reaction to a provocative insight, listen carefully to how the customer discusses the insight while the conversation progresses. Let him know that he is an expert in the field, and your job is not to obstruct him but to help him meet his goals. Captured your prospect’s attention with what they will be able to achieve by using your solution. Don’t forget to follow up until you get a definitive answer.