Some quick thoughts on selling for software engineers. Sell results, not method. Land and Expand. Get clarity on the customer’s view of the problem. Listen.
Quick Thoughts on Selling For Software Engineers
“People won’t pay you to solve problems that you know they have,
only the problems that they know they have.”
Simple Sales Model
A very simple sales model is that your prospect has to understand what your offering does, believe that you can deliver, and then find a reason to act. Technical expertise and experience can contribute significantly to the first two steps (although the ability to clarify benefits is critical) but “sales” is normally more important for understanding how to get a prospect to act/purchase.
Sell Results Not Method
If they don’t want the result your software delivers you have a problem. If they do, focus on the outcome much more than how you do it and make sure they want the result.
Historically SaaS Started at the Bottom
Most of the large SaaS firms owe much of their early success to “bottom up technology adoption.” For example: Salesforce, Webex, NetSuite, SugarCRM. This is also referred to as “land and expand.”
Make Sure Customer Acknowledges Your Description of Their Problem
Make sure you communicate a clear understanding of their problem. There is a strong temptation to leap to your solution, try more focus on making you sure you understand their problem and that they know you understand it. Then offer proof that you have solved similar problems for firms like theirs. Here is where case studies, testimonials, references can help. Finally, try and determine a trigger for action: is there a date or event where their situation will get worse? For example, April 15 for taxes, summer vacation driving trip for oil change, adding a new employee for a payroll service.
Sell With Your Ears
If you are talking you are not learning. To discover more about the other party’s needs, constraints, and objectives ask questions. Listen patiently–do not answer for them. For products above 100K in particular, introverts do much better because they are much more willing to listen to the customer and then work on meeting their needs. It’s a dangerous myth that introverts cannot sell. You sell with your ears.
Related Blog Posts
- Q: How Does a First Time Founder Learn Sales?
- Newsletter: Early Sales
- Newsletter: Strategies for a Winning Sales Presentation
- Early Sales Efforts Foster Value Co-Creation
- Successful Bootstrappers Are Trustworthy Salespeople Committed to Customer Satisfaction
- Q: How To Speed Up Early Trials, Adoption, and Sales
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