When money is tight, buyers need the least risky solutions. They can’t afford to make a mistake.
And when it comes to anything with technology, buyers need the most understandable solutions. If they don’t understand the product or service, they will view it as too big a risk to sign on.
This is not surprising considering how much new technology and science is now built into most products and services today. And there’s much more on the way. The US News and World Report’s latest report of top careers shows why. Nearly every emerging job is in a narrow technical specialty that is exponentially creating knowledge that will need to be understood by untrained buyers.
Capable buyers know they must process technical information that’s flooding in from all sides. To do so they will need more interpreters, advisors and reconcilers who can instill confidence by comfortably explaining how a technical product meets a layman’s objectives.
But from where?
In business it seems there is a widening gap between those who can invent technology and those who buy the results of technology. Large corporations have historically dealt with this challenge by employing specialized staff who were technically educated, could communicate and sell product benefits, and then train a user in how to use them. These “sales engineers” could bridge the widening communications gap. They have always been in great demand.
In small businesses, smart business owners like you have usually served as your firm’s “sales engineer.” But you’ll never grow your business if you are the only sales engineer capable of explaining your product’s and service’s benefits to buyers.
Wrapped in that challenge is an opportunity. You can seize this opportunity if you find and train sales people to sell and communicate like you do – no, even better than you do. Your sales ability, product knowledge and confidence built your business and its success. Now it is time to pay your knowledge forward.
To profitably grow to the next level, you need to leverage your expertise and experience through your emerging employees. So take the cue of the sales engineer. Take your most empathetic people and enhance their grasp of your products. Or take your technicians who are friendly and communicate well and give them more opportunities to teach, train and sell. Invest in them; work with them. Chances are they won’t be perfectly trained overnight. They will stumble here and there. But then, you didn’t get to this point in your business overnight, either.
In an environment where more things are being bought by buyers only as needed, the best way to increase your sales and protect your margins is to sell your expertise and improve the experience of your customer. It’s how you convey value and differentiate your company from the competition.
But don’t literally be the only person in your company who can do this. There isn’t enough of you to go around. Teach your staff to do be able to convey benefits and demystify your products.
This is a really excellent point for business owners, I have often struggled with accomplishing this over my many years in business, but still keep up the effort as it is very worthwhile. I would add that in order to accomplish this it is also important to take the time to learn how to communicate to the younger generations. Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Yers each have very different ways of looking at things. We all want to get to the same place but our maps and the way we read them are different. Want to get your point across to a Gen Yer, show him on his own map.
I would take it a step further and say that you should train every employee to sell. Some may not be good enough to be full-time salespeople, but every employee in the company will at some point be talking to a customer or prospect. That employee in that moment can either add to or take from your company’s perception, so make sure that everyone in the organization has at least some training.