How well do you communicate the tactical and strategic benefits of technology and engineering intensive products and services to buyers who aren’t half as smart as you?
Business babble and tech talk create barriers. Yet if things aren’t going well for us as we manage projects and sell our wares, we crave to commune with someone who talks our talk.
That’s when we lose control of the sales, design and implementation processes.
Your focus is about selling to the comfort level of buyers and decision makers. Focus on demystifying whatever it is that you are talking about to all those listening. Avoid communicating within your own comfort level.
Many of us feel that sprinkling tech talk or business spiel around like confetti defines us as a professional. After all, we’ve “earned” the right to use this language. We perceive that slinging the lingo makes us look more credible to the objects of our business development desire: our customers.
Customers may not understand what you are talking about. Are you sensitive to clues that they are tuning you out?
Here are three tips for leveraging human talk during meetings with potential and current customers – even if they are your professional peers. These strategies are fleshed out in Chapters 3 and 4 of Do YOU Mean Business?, my book on collaboration strategies for non-traditional sellers, technical sellers and engineering doers.
1) Do more listening than you do speaking. This is especially critical if you are going to demo. Your customers may not understand the relevance or value of what you are saying. You won’t know unless you come up for air – frequently. Ask the folks sitting around the table whether or not what you are saying makes sense to them. It’s that simple. All that head bobbing may be an attempt to look interested, while their thoughts are miles away.
2) Engage your customers using human speak questions. Plan on posing a provocative question every 10 minutes, using normal “common” everyday language. I guarantee there are folks around the business table who don’t understand what you are saying and don’t want to let on to their colleagues that they are stymied. Let everyone off the hook with a human speak question everyone can understand and become engaged in discussing.
3) Focus on learning rather than lecturing. When you use human speak to ask engaging and provocative questions, everyone’s opinion counts. You can learn more about the context of a business case in this manner, and avoid those “surprises” which derail the sale at the close. Create a forum in which everyone participates. Become a valued resource to your customer, in the process.
How will you incorporate human speak into your selling and engineering activities next month and throughout the year?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers like engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups to create sustainable business models and revenue strategies. Learn how to incorporate business development into your job function in Do YOU Mean Business? available in soft cover and digital formats.