If you Google “technical sales tips”, hundreds of results will come out. From improving presentation skills, to identifying key people, to the proper way of asking questions. The recommended sales skills of a technical sales engineer will also be a significant part of the results. The list can go on and on. For this article, we will focus on one crucial part of technical sales training – value-based selling.
Imagine you’re on a long road trip and you’re currently in the middle of nowhere. No stores and no restaurants anywhere nearby. Even Waze says that nothing is coming up anytime soon. We forgot to mention that you’re starving and you forgot to drink coffee this morning. After a few miles, you see a gas station coming up. You enter the store and buy a canned coffee for $3.50 and a sad-looking sandwich for $7.00. You know it’s much more expensive than what you normally would spend, but you easily take out your wallet and hand over your money to the cashier.
You might be asking what a coffee and sandwich has to do with technical sales. The situation above is a good example of when value exceeds price. When this happens an exchange happens. It could be a monetary exchange or an exchange of attention. In the example above, your time and convenience had more value than $10.50 plus tax. There are certain conditions that made this true during the time that it happened. If you were in your own neighborhood and you had a go-to spot for coffee and sandwiches, you probably wouldn’t think of spending the same amount of money.
Now, how does this apply to technical sales?
When you try to deliver value instead of the cheapest products, it’s called value-based selling. Instead of focusing on giving your customer the lowest price, you focus on giving the most value. Value-based selling should always be on your mind in technical sales. The fact that value should always exceed price remains true in any situation, sales or not.
Try to remember – have you been beaten by price? If you’re a technical sales engineer, we’re sure this is something you’ve experienced at least once in your career. This is when your potential customer decides to go with someone else based on price alone.
There are customers, in technical sales or any other kind of sales for that matter, that only look at price. These are price shoppers and that’s never going to change. Whatever price you offer, they’re going to look for something cheaper. They find more value in getting the cheapest price, rather than the actual value the product or service delivers.
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These types of prospects, unless you give them the lowest price in the market, are impossible to turn into customers. Once you realize that a prospect is this type of customer, don’t waste your time on them. First, make sure that they really are price shoppers. When you’re sure that they are, remember that they will not buy anything that is not the cheapest in the market. Unless you can beat your competitor on price, move on to other more viable prospects.
Once you’ve moved on, remember that you can only control your own actions. You can’t control what people think about what you’re selling, but you can control your own actions to try and influence their opinions and perspective of you and your product.
Look back at your meetings with prospects who did not become paying customers. Try to see if you gave your prospect enough value that exceeded the price you offered. The value could be new technology, a new system, the ability to solve a long-term problem, or simply a service that makes life easier for them. Did you take the time to get to know the pain points of your prospect? When you meet with them, ask questions to find out what they need. Don’t talk too much about what you’re selling, but instead get to know your customer. This should all be part of basic technical sales training.
Use the information you learn when meeting with prospects to make sure that you are communicating real value to your customers. Don’t just try to sell for the sake of selling. Your prospect will be able to see that from a mile away. Take value-based selling to heart in technical sales and make sure that everything you do delivers value.
Everything boils down to value at the end of the day. From the clothes you wear on your back, from the house you live in – anything you spend money depends on the value you perceive it to be worth. The same goes for technical sales. When you are a technical sales engineer, you need to make sure that you are giving your client more value than the money you are asking for. Follow this rule and you’ll soon be making more sales than before and build your reputation as a technical sales engineer who gives great value.
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Also check out 4 Top LinkedIn Networking Strategies for Mastering Technical Sales to learn more about how to master LinkedIn to land sales.