Technical Engineer Selling Tips: The 80/20 Rule

As a technical sales engineer, you are typically selling complex solutions that require some background of specialized knowledge or information.  When you are preparing to talk with a potential client, should you focus on the technical information or the sales process?

Keep reading to learn the latest technical engineer selling tips.

What is the Role of a Technical Sales Engineer?

Technical sales involve explaining to prospects highly complex technical information that centers on how a product, piece of equipment, or service can provide solutions for specific problems.

The technical sales engineer’s role is to stay in the know and deliver client satisfaction throughout all stages of the sales process.

However, that does not mean you have to know the answer to every single question you will be asked along the way.

Some sales managers believe you have to know every detail to be successful, and the professionals who sell the best know the most about the product.

That’s not true.

Technical Sales Starts with Selling

Yes, while it seems that the most successful salesperson knows everything little thing about a product, it’s not why they are great.

What separates a good technical sales engineer from a great technical sales engineer is that they stick to the 80/20 rule.

Sales are 80% selling and 20% technical.

Many professionals run into a problem because they only focus on the technical data and how the data can solve a potential customer’s problem.

Instead, salespeople should be focusing on finding a real solution for the potential customer and how it can support their business.

Technical Sales is Understanding Your Customers

So how do you offer a solution to a customer’s problem? The best way to understand the needs of a prospect is to take the time to listen to them.

Transition the conversion around by asking questions about the top problems they are facing. Understand what they need. Then create a solution that solves the specific problem.

Find out what they are looking for in a supplier or in the system you are trying to sell them.

TSU Pro Tip: “Don’t show up and throw up.”

In your presentation or pitch, don’t walk in and start with “Here’s what our service does” or “Here is the system that I offer and our capabilities.”

If you are the one doing all of the talking, you will be miss out on the opportunity to ask the right questions and won’t recognize the cues that the customer will give you.

When you walk into a meeting, remember you are meeting with another person. Don’t bore them with the technical information. You want them to talk more than you are talking. Get them to open up and give you the information you really want.  Then provide the solution that is tailored to their needs.

Want to improve your presentation skills? Check out the “How to Pitch” course, where you will learn the complete method behind “Show up and throw up” to increase engagement and get more opportunities.

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Types of Questions to Ask to Know Your Audience

What are your current suppliers doing?

What is your biggest headache that they have with their current supply chain?

What are your top three issues with your current system that you are trying to replace?

What keeps you up at night or frustrated throughout the day?

Pro Tip: Ask your customer as many questions as you can before talking about your service.

As they give you the answer, ask for more information. Then talk about how your service or solution can make it easier or solve that problem for them.

You don’t need to dive deep into the technical data right away and offer your value proposition before understanding your customer’s needs. Wait for the right moment with the right people to make them feel comfortable with the solution you are presenting.

From a sales standpoint, make sure what you are offering is tailored to your customer’s needs.

Sales Process for Success

Remember, the 80/20 rule is about understanding selling first and then the technical aspect second. You can’t provide real value without knowing everything that is important to your prospect first.

Great sales professionals do need to know their products and services inside and out to a certain degree.

Moreover, don’t hesitate to bring the support of the technical professionals and engineers with you. Surround yourself with the right people that can help you and your company close the deal.

As a salesperson, you do not have to know the answer to every single question. The best salespeople are the ones who know how to get the answer the quickest.

Let the engineers and technical team explain the complex information and features. At the same time, you watch the room and recognize the other people’s visual cues. Listen to the answers they are giving. Then you step in and ask follow-up questions.

Selling is a process of understanding somebody’s needs and matching your capabilities to deliver a solution.

Want to know more technical engineer selling tips?

With over 15 years of experience, we don’t just teach “theory.” We provide actionable lessons so you can see results tomorrow by providing you with all of the tools you need to not only significantly increase your personal income but become a top performer at any company. If you are ready to take your technical sales career to the next level or are eager to make a career change, then click here to take the next step towards success with Technical Sales University.