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The Scientific or Technical Salesperson

Recently, I've been working with a lot of salespeople with scientific, engineering, or technical backgrounds.

The other day, someone asked me whether these types of salespeople are different from other salespeople. The short answer is, "Yes." Here's what I mean. Generally speaking, salespeople with these kinds of backgrounds have three things in common. They're...

  • extremely logical,
  • extraordinarily literal, and
  • exceptionally linear.

Here's what I mean: First, they tend to be logical. In other words, when something new is being presented to them, they respond well to an argument that is clear, sound, and reasoned. That means their sales leaders need to provide a well-thought-out justification for anything they ask their team to do. The old "because I said so" doesn't work for anybody...but it's especially useless on these salespeople. Second, they're often literal. They take words and ideas at their absolute face-value. Metaphors are sometimes missed. This means that sales leaders need to present information in an objective, factual, and non-judgmental way. If you're using a story or case study to prove a point, don't use too much color commentary. Instead, be prepared to spell out the lesson or take-away. Finally, they think in a linear way. This stems, I think, from their process-orientation. It means following a sales (or buying) process suits them nicely. Unlike many salespeople, they are highly organized and prefer methodically operating according to systems. This orientation can go one of two ways. First, it can mean that they are consistent and follow-through on their commitments. However, on the other hand, it can mean that they suffer from "paralysis of analysis." It's up to their sales leader to keep them on track. What do you think? How else are scientific, engineering, or technical salespeople different from other salespeople? - @JebBrooks