It has been a long held belief that extroverts made the best sales people; the gift of the gab, being charming and persuasive, telling a good story, people oriented and friendly, and all that. However, given the increasing need to make well informed decisions and manage risk before we buy, our warm, chatty, convivial friends may need to learn a lesson or two from the more ambiverted/ introverted types many of whom are deep thinking techies, geeks, and nerds.
Gone are the days of being first to market with a new product and having a reasonable lead time to win the hearts and minds of our target markets by spruiking the obvious benefits of our offer to all and sundry and making easy sales.
Today, in a sea of overwhelming choice, discerning buyers are looking for leverage, a leading edge, better productivity and cost control, business value, surety of supply and so on. They are looking to engage with people who have a depth and breadth of knowledge in their area of expertise, people who can engage in business discussions and offer ideas and solutions that address the opportunities of both today and the future. This requires a higher order of thinking and a skill set that allows for effective communication and collaboration.
People in sales and client facing roles need to have a much better and deeper understanding of their and their clients’ businesses and, understand how what they have to offer works in concert with the complex systems of business, markets and communities.
Step in the wide range of engineers, technicians, mathematicians and scientists who are schooled in higher order thinking. As cited in the 30 June 2016 FINSIA article, ‘Solving the STEM Paradox’, overall, individuals with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) backgrounds and training are able to be better problem solvers in technology-rich environments — they’re better equipped for new business models, new markets and new sources of economic growth, academics suggest.
The irony ‘Solving the STEM Paradox’ highlights is that ‘They’re supposed to be the most desirable candidates in the employment market: the saviours of services-driven economy, the diviners of economic growth. And yet individuals with education and backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, remain underemployed compared to the broader population.’
Addressing the STEM paradox and building better sales teams
One way to address both the STEM paradox and crafting and generating better sales teams is to bring in more engineers, technicians, mathematicians and scientists into our sales teams. And the answer is ‘Yes’ to your question ‘can we train these people to sell well?’
When we help these professionals get past the negative stereotypes of selling and focus on what good selling is they actually find that they can sell well and actually enjoy the experience. They love solving problems and being useful.
Solution Selling as a team sport that pays big dividends
Get these techies, geeks and nerds working with account managers and BDMs as key members of client facing teams and then the magic really begins to unfold.
So here is a whole new career path for the engineers, technicians, mathematicians and scientists and whole new recruitment pool for employers and sales leaders.