When I started to work in technical Sales, I wasn’t convinced at all of the need to learn about Sales.
I was thinking that “Sales” is not something that could or should be learnt… because:
1- People choose to buy if they want and if they need what I have to sell.
2- If what I sell is really good, I don’t need to sell anything, people will see it and buy it.
I was blind and stupid.
That’s something that I can only tell after “experiencing” how much I was wrong…
(and that’s not easy to say it, but that’s the truth…)
I don’t know if you feel the same than me but sometimes I just think “I am so right” and I try to prove to everyone around how much I am… to discover few weeks (or months) after that I was in fact telling bullshits…
Here are the reasons I was wrong
Most of the time, people cannot solve their problems because they are not able to define correctly those problems in the first place.
How can you solve a problem if you don’t even know the problem?
Secondly, people usually know only one or two possible solutions to their problems and are blind to other solutions that may be much more effective. (And most of the time indeed, the best solutions are the one difficult to come up with in the first place…).
That’s like a mathematical problem, you can have an unique solution, but you can also have an infinite array of solutions…
Because of all that, my previous assumption “People choose to buy if they want and if they need what I have to sell.” only partially makes sense.
To be more accurate, I should say:
If people know clearly their problems and are aware of all the panel of solutions available, they choose to buy if they want and if they need what I have to sell.
Seems much more difficult to realize this sentence seem to be, right?
In fact that’s the job of the good salesman to find the exact problems prospects are experiencing, then translate those problems into a statement that is totally clear, defined and makes sense and then explain all the solutions that exist.
Now let’s examine the second belief I had about Sales: “If what I sell is really good, I don’t need to sell anything, people will see it and buy it.”
That’s something a bit more difficult to explain and that’s why I wrote another post about this topic here.
Why you really need to learn more about Sales to be more successful
What I discovered is that Selling is actually a skill that can be learnt and there are a lot of reasons why you should try to learn “Sales”:
1. Learning how to sell helps you to sell anything including yourself
Almost everything in the world can be assimilated to a sales process.
For example, when you try to “sell” a new idea to your boss, you are first stating the problem and how your new idea will improve the system in place or how much it will bring to the company.
When you are searching for a job, you are trying to find what are the real qualities that the company your target research and the value you can bring to the company. You are selling yourself and your skills.
If you learn how to “Sell” (in an ethical manner), you will be able to put yourself forward and gain trust and benefits in a lot of areas. You will build your own future.
2. Selling is about providing value and solving problems
When you are an engineer, like me, what is important is to build systems that will solve real-world problems.
So engineers are kind of “building the raw value”.
Problem is that if the clients don’t know that this incredible system exist AND that it can effectively solve their problems, they don’t see the value. The value is just invisible even if it’s here somewhere.
Selling is like the complement of Engineering. Engineers build the value and Salesmen make people realize that this value exists.
If you do one of those but not this other, it just cannot work.
Engineering without selling is just a waste of useful technology and resources.
Selling without engineering is just a scam.
That’s why I deeply think that if you are an engineer, you should be able to sell, because you are one of the only person in the company that has the true knowledge about the right purpose and usage of the product you are building.
3. The money you earn is proportional to the value provided
That was a big realization for me. If the product is not good or does not really help your prospects, you can put as many salesmen as you want on it, it will always be very difficult to sell.
People buy people you are solving a real problem for them.
More you are able to solve the problem in depth, more they will get value from your product and more you will sell.
Money you earn is the fruit of a huge work on your product to create something really really useful. That’s it.
4. If the world didn’t have salesman, technical discoveries would stay in the labs
You can have the best technology in the world, if you don’t know how to find the right prospects, how to formulate the problem in the way that matches their expectations and if you are not persuasive enough to make them understand the benefits, you will go nowhere.
A lot of small engineering companies have built their own amazing products, but if they are not able to sell those technology, they will simply not make it and technology may even disappear… not fair? We aren’t living in a world which is fair. That’s why learning about sales will teach you a lot on how to propagate the value that your company create.
There’s probably a thousand more reasons I could share with you but that’s not the point.
The only thing important is that learning how to sell will make you and your company very successful, that’s for sure!