Never before has the marketplace been flooded with an abundance of technology at such a rapid pace. It seems daily there's a faster computer processor, better cellular phone or new software product that will make life simpler.
And never before have the various high-tech industries been so competitive. Aggressive marketing, small start-ups absorbed by large giants, and the ability to simply provide more for less are regular news features.
At my company, our client base is expanding more rapidly in high tech than any other. It's been our experience that there's a glaring need for sales training for many of these people.
Senior management is realizing that every person within a company is either selling or unselling, all the time.
This is obvious at the selling and customer-service levels, but it's also true at the developmental, programming and technical support levels as these people are experiencing increased customer contact.
Every interaction with your customer leaves no alternative but to either reinforce or degrade your image in the customer's mind.
Many high-tech professionals are brilliantly gifted yet often suffer from a fatal flaw when dealing with customers: They're product-centered, not people-centered. They focus on the features of a product (the speed of the process, size of the hard drive, connectivity) rather than the benefit the customer will receive.
The reason Track Selling System has been so effective and popular in the high-tech industries is based on its appeal as a process approach to selling.
Many high-tech professionals, such as software and systems engineers, are process-oriented -- they go through a design and time checklist in creating their applications.
They probably did not choose their profession to become salespeople, many are rapidly learning, sometimes painfully, that everyone in their organization either sells or unsells their company every day.
Ron Holm, president of a regional accounting software valued-added reseller based in the Midwest, is one of our clients. Following is his testimonial that any high-tech professional can acquire a professional selling aptitude by recognizing the need and filling it with an effective procedure.
- "In my early days, I was more a computer nerd than salesperson," says Ron. "My background is system design and accounting software tech support. Selling made me uncomfortable and I struggled. As a result, my company was run of the mill, selling few systems each year."
Today, his company is a top reseller of software. How?
- "I committed to learning the Track Selling System and applied its principles, from prospecting to qualifying to filling the need to handling objections and closing the sale. Of 7,000 resellers that sell the same product, we've risen to the top one-third of 1 percent of the distribution channel," he said.
- "To be effective in selling, people need to understand the selling process," he said. "We use many sales training methodologies. The Track Selling System seemed to have the best balance of people skills and sales science. We tested it on 23 prospects. One bought from a competitor. Another bought nothing. We sold the other 21."
Ron is proof that when selling becomes a procedure, it ceases to be a problem. And until it becomes a procedure, it will always be a problem.
As I've written, there are five requirements needed to be a successful sales professional. If a high-tech professional masters these requirements, they can have as much success as any experienced salesperson.
- Interest. Genuine interest is the stable foundation of a successful sales career. When you're interested, you're excited about your career and continue to learn, keeping up on the latest trends and developments in your industry.
If you are genuinely interested several traits will show through. You will be enthusiastic, hard working, organized, disciplined and always willing to try something new. You will usually fraternize with the most successful people in your industry.
- Attitude. Attitude communicates your opinions of people, business and life in general. There are two kinds of people: those who think they can and those who think they can't. The irony is that they are both right. People can change their lives by changing their attitudes.
Here are tips to remain positive: Regularly feed your mind positive thoughts; look for the positive in any negative situation; take action to improve a negative situation; network with successful people.
- Energy. Energy is more than something physical. It grows from interest and a positive attitude. When you are excited about your day's activities you have the energy to carry you through.
Plan to develop your capacity by getting better every day. If you could do your job better today than yesterday and better tomorrow and the next, imagine the impact this will have on your career in one year.
- Method. A method is a precise step-by-step procedure that covers all points in the selling process, leaving nothing to chance. Method is a game plan for selling your product or service to your prospect.
- Success. Success is the self-satisfaction in the accomplishment of something that is important to you. Success is relative and means different things to different people. Only when you make clear what success means to you can you pursue it effectively.
I urge all high-tech professionals to resist resting on their background and technical proficiencies thereby leaving their selling and communications skills to chance.
Just as they use step-by-step processes daily in their technical work, they can use the step-by-step selling procedure when working with customers to achieve incredible results.
Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.