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Everyone Is In Sales

Everyone is in Sales

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 184).

You have a technical degree plus five years training and a professional engineering license or certification, are you a skilled professional or are you in sales? 

IMHO you are both, everyone is in sales! 

Sometimes I see Engineers and Technologist basking in their specialist knowledge (technical power) and they tend to see people in sales as beneath them. I guess this attitude is a form of intellectual and social elitism. However, specialist technical skills have zero value if you cannot persuade someone to pay you for them. 

In our working and personal life we are all constantly being judged on our appearance, actions and deliverables. This means our personal and company brands are being judged and our ability to retain clients and win work are on the line 24/7. 

If you are technical and believe you are not in sales think about this:

  • To quote my mentor, “you are only as good as your last project”.
  • Engineers, technologists and their firms sell (are hired) based on reputation.
  • Getting a full time job or winning a project is an exercise in sales i.e. persuasion.

The takeaway here is:

  • Competence and reputation (individual and firm) feed into and are part of the sales process.
  • Ability to deliver consistently is part of the sales process.
  • Costs and therefore value is part of the sales process.

Everyone impacts sales via their work and interactions with clients. The sales process for professional engineering, commissioning, project management, etc. firms has three stages:

  1. Pre-purchase  – Persuasion that you or your firm is the one! i.e. brand awareness.
  2. Purchase i.e under contract – How you manage and meet client deliverables. 
  3. Post purchase – How you leave them is how clients remember you. 

In all three stages everything matters including:

  • How phone calls and e-mails are answered, right down to your e-mail signature.
  • The firms offices and your appearance.
  • The firms and your ongoing conduct and reputation in the market.
  • Your ability to be present with clients without constantly looking at your phone in meetings.
  • Your demonstrable integrity.
  • Do you deliver and have the clients back? If you deliver 9 times out of 10 the client will only remember the 1 time out of 10 you let them down. 

There is a good reason the some firms have multiple repeat business and others are one hit wonders. The winners excel at all three stages of the sales process. 

The next time you feel confident your technical knowledge is better than your peers and you are “above” sales, think about this. Steve Jobs had no marketable computer technical skills, yet he was the man that reinvented Apple. He did this by focusing on all three stages of the sales process. The best sales person not the engineer always rises to run the company. 

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer 

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