I’ve done much training in the past of how a product works, how its software functions, and navigating through equations in order to churn variables into numbers on a printout.
However, it is a different dance when a customer wonders whether your tools are the best, or rather, if it fits their needs just right.
If I’m honest, my naive self has subscribed to the evil stigma that salesmen are vicious creatures that just want to rope a customer into a product at any cost. The truth is that a salesman really should need and want to provide a solution for the customer.
There are various ways to go about this, and all require their own finesse….
A salesman might opt to know as much about the product or service they’re selling in order to fire off the right information to an operator who might end up running the machine. This makes the salesman as relatable as possible to the customer.
Another method of selling is to let the customer know that we might not have all of the answers for him, but we’ll be able to find the right person for them who does. Finally, a tactic that gives the personal touch is by saying that we aren’t like “the other guys.” This shows that the company as a whole has something else to offer that is unique. Regardless of which persona you might prefer, a salesman should know how to present a product, and this requires some technical knowledge.
This is where I believe the customer will appreciate me. I love understanding how a product works and what it can do for me. However, this doesn’t necessarily translate to a good solution for the customer since I can be seen as more of a reference book that has the answers instead of a tailor that will suit your needs. A salesman should know just enough to be able to relate to the customer without boring them or scaring them off with technical jargon.
Again, this might require some intrinsic need to understand the product, some genuine charisma, and maybe a bit of luck, since it takes ten times more effort to gain a customer than to retain one.
Nevertheless, how did I start “training” fellow salesmen into delivering knowledge about Wenzel’s gear inspection machines? Mainly with easy bullet points to remember. The main aspects to highlight for our gear inspection machines, for example, is far more important than all of the technical details which can be easily reference in one of our brochures.
When it comes to technical terms, a simple mnemonic device, or memory association, can assist in remembering many little details. For example, as soon as one colleague saw a picture of a drive shaft, he remembered it as a dumbbell.
The funny thing is that engineers already have a nickname for these parts, although it is ‘dog bone.’ This reminded me of my 7th grade language arts teacher, Ms. Dalton, who, when first starting the Harry Potter series, referred to the character Hermione as simply ‘H’ because of the complexity of her name. Simple tricks like these in a salesman’s toolbox can aid in their credibility and expertise when providing a solution for a customer.
In that regard, simplifying the abilities of something like a gear inspection machine such as which probe thread size can be used or which models have a movable tailstock to a salesperson is just what customers will be looking for.
By the same token, the Sales team here at Wenzel America has been very knowledgeable explaining to me how I should approach a customer, e.g. if they already own one a Wenzel machine or what type of demo I would need to prepare for a customer. They’ve taught me the importance of how to communicate with who exactly I’ll be speaking with or teaching.
This is a much different skillset than explaining software and numbers, which rarely change; people’s receptiveness, on the other hand, varies greatly. This will ensure that customers receive the best service from us no matter who they are interacting with.
Even though each have their own strengths, there is little argument for how effective a duo it is when both salesman and technical engineer assist with customer relations. Communications between all parties benefits all, as it should in many parts of the manufacturing process.
Just because I’ve moved from one country to another doesn’t mean that I have both my feet in one culture. In the same regard, customers now know that Wenzel’s team is a diverse, yet customer-centric one.
If you’d like to get in contact with one of our experienced salesmen, please do so at [email protected] If you have any other tips or anecdotes about how you’ve related to customers or salesmen, leave a comment below. We always like to hear your points of view!
“I’m usually the guy without a suit”
Product Specialist – Gear Metrology
ASME GD&T Technologist Certified