Selling a highly technical product or service requires a certain skill set: one that ties a deep understanding of the features of the offering with the ability to persuade prospects and customers to buy by presenting the benefits of the offering.
The challenge? Many technical salespeople tend toward "feature dumping" instead of building value in the mind of the buyer.
Let's take a look at why that happens.
- They have a technical background and get really excited about the "cool" features of their brand new Whiz Bang 2000.
- They tend to be more product focused rather than prospect focused.
- Their educational background lies in a technical understanding of the engineering of their brand new Whiz Bang 2000 and they have a hard time understanding why the prospect doesn't get as excited about that as they do.
Unfortunately, salespeople who are overly technical can have trouble understanding how to get past the technical features of what they are selling in order to better connect with their prospect's buying motives. When you are considering how to get technical salespeople to sell to a buyer's wants instead of just focusing on features, you should keep in mind the important concept of features vs. benefits.
How to Get Technical Salespeople to Sell
1. When determining how to get technical salespeople to sell your product, the first step is calibrating their focus. They need to understand that while they may love that their product or service features an industry-leading feature, unless the buyer is exited about that particular feature, it doesn't matter. They need to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the prospect, understand what they perceive as being of value, then position their solution in such a way that the technical features help the prospect accomplish their goals.
And, by the way, they can skip the in-depth features presentation unless the buyer wants to see it.
2. Teach your technical salespeople the fundamental difference between features and benefits. As basic as that may sound, in many very technically-driven industries, we see that there is a lack of understanding of these fundamental sales concepts. Just to be clear, let's take a look at the formal definitions of each.
The Difference Between Features and Benefits
- Features are defined as the technical abilities of a product and what the product can actually do for its user.
- Benefits, on the other hand, are why these features are useful for the buyer. Entrepreneur says that benefits are what answer the question “what’s in it for me?”
3. Focus your corporate training on selling skills training instead of product training. In many organizations, especially ones with operationally-driven cultures, the internal speak is all about new products, new features and new engineering. Unfortunately, that generates a situation in which the sales culture is polluted in that it's only internally-focused. Providing sales skills training overcomes that challenge.