The capital equipment industry makes for a highly niche market. Hence, the marketing strategies employed to tap the relatively smaller market should be impactful. To this end, sales engineers, who are the face of an organization, shoulder a big responsibility of building its brand and propagating it.
Like most roles, the role of a sales engineer demands a certain kind of attitude. Here is how they should be for them to be of consequence in the industry :
People-oriented : Since it involves dealing directly with customers, one must be an extrovert with a thorough understanding of their needs, fears, and expectations.
Patient : Customers rightfully need time to think, decide, ponder and experiment. Hustling will only shoo them away.
Optimistic : It is not possible to win every time. Failures must be taken in the right spirit - to learn from and keep trying.
Energetic : Going over and beyond the normal call of duty is appreciated at all places, not just in this industry.
Time-conscious : Sales executive must value their time and demonstrate the same with their promptness. Making customers wait is sinful.
Committed : Commitment is the single most important thing in building trust. Don’t easily make commitments. Once made, do not break them.
Flexible : Sales executives should not be rigid. They must know when to change the pitch to suit customer needs and change plans accordingly.
Transparent : Being transparent is the key to avoiding complications later. Don’t hide things or a status from customers. Convey to them clearly what product or service can or cannot be delivered.
Love for field work : Sitting at a desk and working with the phone cannot be a substitute for being in the field. Sales executives must enjoy being where the action is.
Capital equipment sales executives must hone their skills for :
Recovering quickly from rejection : Fear of rejection can be crippling. Since sales executives frequently face rejections, they must train themselves to not get personally affected and quickly recover from them.
Being comfortable talking about money : Strangely, this could be a problem even for sales executives. If they avoid talking about money at the correct earliest point in the sales process, it will affect outcomes.
Prospecting : They should prospect consistently to turn suspects into prospects.
Reaching the decision makers : Their ability to get to the decision makers early in the sales process is critical to quickly qualify and close more business, at better margins.
Listening effectively : The key to quality listening is to not keep thinking ahead during a sales call but taking notes so that they best understand the customer and his issues.
Restraining from over selling : Showing desperation to customers can be a major put off for them. If they really need it, they will buy it definitely.
Fear of rejection can be crippling. Since sales executives frequently face rejections, they must train themselves to not get personally affected and quickly recover from them.
T K Ramesh,
Managing Director and CEO,
Micromatic Machine Tools Pvt Ltd