Why Engineers are the New Salespeople
Why is this? Sadly, ever since the days of snake oil, the craft has been heavily associated with lying. Years of advertising have hardened consumers and trained them to be skeptical above all else, and no one is more suspect than a salesperson. A salesperson is, first and foremost, interested in getting you to buy what they’re selling, and usually only secondarily interested in your enjoyment of or satisfaction with the product.
Recently, however, some brands have seized upon an interesting strategy for dealing with this issue: get someone else to sell the product. Though professional salespeople struggle with trust, there is one employee who still retains it: the person who engineered, developed, or created it in the first place! Let’s call these people “Product experts.”
Make no mistake: your product expert is a real asset to the customer, and they know it, too. Customers love to talk to the people behind the products they use, because these people are believed to be predisposed to looking at things from an objective, unbiased, and technically-oriented point of view. They are trusted. Best Buy was not just taking a stab in the dark when they piloted the Geek Squad—they were demonstrating their awareness of a real sales phenomenon.
In a way, the trust that customers inherently have for your product expert makes them like friends. Your best non-salesperson—your product expert—is also great at relating to the customer. Because, at the end of the day, the customer still wants to have a business relationship that can drift beyond business. Where the old-style salesperson disappears after they make that sale, the new-style product expert might call up a customer after a week or two to see how they’re getting on with the product. They might take the customer to a basketball game and not even mention the product the whole time! Remember, a pure business relationship can be broken at any moment because of a better offer, a cheaper product, or any number of other reasons. A friendship is more durable.
By providing personal, determined, and honest service instead of the hard sell, it’s possible to build long-term relationships instead of quick, one-time sales. These durable and longlasting relationships are the ones that could make the difference in times of economic slowdown and hardship.
So don’t be “that” sales person. Apply a problem solving mindset to your sales and build long-term relationships instead of making quick, shortsighted sales.