Great Technical Skills Don’t Sell

February 10, 2016 — Leave a comment

question_markHow Technically Savvy Are You?

Is This Winning You New Business?

It would seem that if you really know what you’re doing technically, people will buy from you. Unfortunately that’s not true.  IBM showed us a long time ago that sales prowess outsells technical savvy every time. Look at companies like WellFleet, Sybase, and DEC.

If your somewhat new to the industry, you may not even recognize these names. They’re history.  But not before developing some really cool technology. We’re only on Wednesday and already I’ve had several coaching calls with technical heavyweights, who at some point decided to go out on their own. The idea was, “Since I’m the one who knows everything, I can probably make more money running my own business.”

Initially that sounds great. Then you start wondering why no one is calling. You know everyone out there needs you, but for some reason, they are still meeting with non-technical sales people. Why?

The school of hard knocks truth is that technical skills don’t readily translate into business. Michael Bosworth, in his book Solution Selling, told us years ago to sell to the 95% of the population that doesn’t realize what they need. Steve Jobs told us, “People don’t even know what they need until I invent it.” (A reference to iPods and iPhones).

If you have strong technology, that’s good. You can’t complete long term without it.

But if you want to grow your business, you really need marketing and sales strategies that work. Some things to think about….

  1. If you do assessments, start measuring your conversion. If they are security focused for instance, do you know how many (Percent) show major issues? Given that, what percentage of them convert to remediation? If the percent is lower than 50% something is broken. Your message is not getting to the asset owners – the people with liability.  (Learn more about this in The House & The Cloud)$1 HC Book Ad
  2. If you conduct lunch & learns, how many are coming? More importantly, how many are converting to a clear next step? If it’s just your customers, you probably have little or no clear conversion rate. If you are getting new prospects, is there a clear next step (like an assessment) that leads to new business. What’s your conversion rate?
  3. Even if you just sent out proposals, are you measuring the conversion (or close) rate? If you’re down in the 20% range like most, you are wasting a lot of time.  In my book, From Vendor to Advisor, I explain how I achieved a 95% proposal close rate. Might be worth a read.

Copyright, 2016, David Stelzl

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