Hot Buttons and Objections – Engineers

My Chinese partner, Michael Chen, CEO of Zest Learning in China, has asked to write a series of blogs on what is the key hot button for each of the seven components and what are the likely objections such individuals are likely to provide during a sales call. We have so far dealt with the Politician (P), Normal (N), Hustler (H), Doublechecker (D), and Artist (A) components so now let’s consider another component commonly found in technical decision makers and project managers: the Engineer or E component.

Engineers are driven by the desire to complete projects. Life to them is a series of lists. They are either marking off the steps in their current project; and then when they complete it, they then tick the project as completed in their lists of projects. Es love to plan, and when preparing a plan thoroughly research the project, reading as much research as they can. They also do not multi-task. Instead they focus on the project at hand, with an intensity no other personality component can match.

Thus the Engineer’s most common objection is I Will Not Make a Decision Now. The Engineer is probably working on one project and does not want to delay its progress by thinking about something else. Better tactics are to ask him or her about the present project and what is the timetable for its completion. Then aim at making the introduction of your product the next project and fix an appointment when you can next meet. Afterwards send the Engineer the thickest technical textbook you have on your product. What you must not do is interrupt the current timetable and so irritate the prospect.

Once your project is under consideration the most common objection is Your Proposition Is Not Good Enough. Engineers will give your product a technical grilling and be looking for logical and practical flaws in your presentation. Your product knowledge must be accurate. If you do not know the answer to a technical question say you do not know but will find out. You will not lose esteem but will gain respect and improve your credibility, provided you do follow up with the answer.

Often the Engineer will ask, ‘Does the product come in pink?’. Instead of just saying yes, use the ‘porcupine technique’, which is to answer the question with another question which suggests that the prospect will buy the product if the answer is favourable. For example, to the question ‘Can we get this product in pink?’ reply by saying ‘Would you like it in pink?’ This immediately puts the onus on the prospect to tell you whether the question is a real objection and whether the prospect intends to buy. Furthermore, if the product is available in pink, the prospect has said he wants it and not the salesperson. Prospects usually prefer to believe themselves rather than the salesperson and successful sales are often generated by prospects convincing themselves.

The final objection often raised by Engineers is Bad Past Experience with Your Company. Engineers like to get their hands dirty. They like to test and play with new products. If in the past they have some technical difficulty with other product or service supplied by your company they will store the memory away and refuse to consider later offering. Good after-sales service is a key requirement when marketing to Engineers.


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Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

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