A techie relates the following narrative: One day recently while working at an Apple store, I suddenly had the urge to use the toilet. After getting permission to leave the floor I hustled into the nearest stall in the restroom and began to pull my pants down, when I heard a splash. I knew instantly that I dropped my $500 iPhone 6 into the toilet. The only good news was that I hadn’t yet relieved myself.
I reached in and pulled the phone out of the bowl, only to watch it flicker on and off, over and over again. I quickly ran out to the Genius Bar in the store, with it still dripping, and begged them for help. It wasn’t long before they looked up at me and nodded in unison, telling me there was probably no hope, but that my only potential for salvaging it was to remove the Nano SIM card and let it completely dry for a few days. I followed their guidance and finally, after three days, I plugged it back in and low and behold it actually worked! Since that day I haven’t had a bit of trouble with the device and am so happy. My take away from that near disaster was to always check my pockets before using the toilet.
It should be evident that with the surge in technology inventions and usage, more and more people are becoming employed in information technology based occupations and turning into geeks. Many of them have more degrees than a thermometer. With that comes sales prospects ruled by techie tendencies. Considering most of these folks are upper-middle-income Americans, and therefore a high percentage are home owners, they are prime prospects for blue collar residential services.
In order to attempt to sell those services to them, it becomes increasingly important to understand they think differently than the rest of us, so it’s important to learn to relate to them and see things from their perspective. Many salespeople overlook the tendencies these professionals have, and as a result, inadvertently say and do things that ruin both the sale and the salesperson-prospect relationship.
In order to learn how these folks tick, it’s important to understand the “culture” they function in, including personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. I don’t pretend to understand all the Sigmund Freud psycho-babble, but suffice it to say that geeks can be labeled as people who function in “authority” mode. This means they operate by the “rules” and feel duty-bound to do things the “right” way. Geeks are more comfortable with data, numbers, and observable facts than they are with people, fitting the analytical temperament we have discussed before.
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Here are some peculiarities that will help you understand them better:
-They strive to control their surroundings, but will give up some of that to those who earn their respect.
-Geeks dislike and distrust salespeople and outwardly show it because their greatest fear is being manipulated. Instead they would prefer to rely on detailed literature that can’t intimidate them.
-Techies often suffer from “paralysis by analysis”, requiring lots of information in order to make decisions.
-This group really doesn’t care what others think about them, as long as they have their “true north” rules and standards to guide them.
With these quirks in mind, here are some suggestions to increase your odds of successfully selling to geeks.
Play by their rules – Since geeks prefer an authority to set the rules, show them how industry experts and state regulators identify your company as one that does it right, and back this up with some stats. Maybe you furnish a product brochure that cites what a government agency says, or a trade journal article featuring an industry icon that is affiliated with your firm.
Understand their centers of influence – These individuals bow at the altar of policies and procedures, so expose them to your ISO registration, Training Magazine Top 125 designation, or CDC affiliation, etc. to steer them to you as their partner of choice.
Establish and prove that what you sell is an industry standard – Namedrop industry “elder statesmen” that speak well of your company, or provide written/video testimonials from other satisfied geeks like them who have become customers.
Position yourself as an expert – Keep copies of designations you have earned personally in your industry that show you are an expert, not just a sales rep. Include university study courses as well as your personal state certifications and/or licenses.
Address their comfort level – Show them how your installation/servicing procedures and product specifications are sophisticated enough to impress. Demonstrate high-tech pieces of equipment your competitors aren’t willing to invest in, to build value in your offering and professionally show superiority.
Avoid manipulation at all costs – Don’t put words in their mouth, since that’s unsanitary, but rather present all the above for their own edification and evaluation, allowing them to draw their own conclusions.
Give them all the data they need to make a decision – Rely more on technical data like equipment specifications sheets and product labels than marketing collateral literature that sounds and smells a little too “salesy” to most geeks.
As more and more geeks assume buyer’s roles in your marketplace, you would be wise to become more proficient with the face to face skills necessary to succeed in a techie world.
©2016 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC