How To Sell Existing Customers on New Technologies

Struggling to get your customers to buy the latest technology you have to offer? Here's why they might be tuning out, and how you can fix it.

You’ve got a great new piece of tech to sell to your customers. But for some reason, they just don’t seem interested. Why?

Firstly, you need to stop selling them the technology. It may sound contradictory – after all, it is what you’re offering, right?

Wrong! Your customers don’t care about the tech. What they care about is how you solve their problems!

It’s all about the pain point

A famous marketer, Gary Halbert, once asked this question of his students: “If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who would sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side?”

The answers varied. Some people said the advantage of superior meat. Others said they wanted sesame seed buns, or a good location. And someone always said they wanted to be able to offer the lowest prices.

Halbert said his students could have every single advantage, and he just wanted one advantage. And if they gave him that advantage, he would beat all of them when it came to selling burgers.

“The only advantage I want,” he said, “is a starving crowd!”

The moral of the story is that people want their needs and pain-point to be met. You can talk about a great feature at length, but what people are interested in is how it helps them.

Does it save or make them money? Does it save them time? Don’t assume that any benefit is too obvious to mention – it might only be obvious to those who are knee-deep in the technology, and not everyone who uses it is.

So if it saves your customer money or time, be sure to tell them that first, followed by how.

You also need to know your customer

We’ve identified you’ve got to pitch the business impact, not the IT solution. But this requires you to actually know what your customer’s business is.

What are their pain points? What are they looking to achieve? It can be as simple as ringing them up and asking. Chances are, they’ll be pleased you want to know about their business and what they do.

Some questions you could ask:

  • What are the goals for your organization in the next six to twelve months?
  • What are the top initiatives on your plate right now?
  • What are the biggest challenges your team faces?
  • What problems are you looking to solve with our service?

Once you know what people’s problems are, you’ll know when a new piece of technology comes up that it will add value to them. You’re not looking to sell ice to people living in Antarctica – you’re looking to sell heaters! That way, both of you are happy; you’re helping that business out, and they’re getting a feature they need to solve their business problems.

Where do they fall on the technology adoption scale?

People adapt technology according to a life cycle, and tend to fall into one of five categories. It’s helpful to identify which group your customer falls into.

  • Innovators: These are your leading-edge, risk-orientated individuals who are extremely interested in technological developments. These only make up a small fragment of the market. Innovators are going to be the most responsive to hearing about the actual technology in depth.
  • Early Adopters: A larger but still relatively small demographic. Early Adopters are generally risk-orientated and highly adaptable to new tech. They follow Innovators and embrace new products they are using. They tend to be young and well-educated.
  • Early Majority: A much larger and more careful segment of the market. They are open to new ideas, but generally are waiting to see how technology is received before they adopt it themselves. They are pragmatic and see value their existing product infrastructure.
  • Late Majority: Slightly conservative and risk-adverse. The late majority is a large group of potential customers who need convincing before investing in something new.
  • Laggards: Extremely frugal, conservative, and adverse to new technologies. This group will avoid any sign of risk and only invest in new ideas once they are extremely well established. In fact, they’ll usually only take up technology when it’s on the verge of being obsolete, and keep it well after the End-of-Life (EOL) date to their peril.

The chasm between Innovators and Early Adopters represents where most high tech ventures fail. Why? Because they try to sell to the majority in the same way they did to the Innovators and the Early Adopters.

This is a mistake. While some early birds might want to hear about the tech itself, the vast majority want to know about the proven benefit to them. Instead of selling them shiny new things, you need to explain how it has problem solved and changed someone’s business for the better. That’s how you leap the chasm.

People are issue driven

You might think that if someone is in one of those categories, that’s where they’re always be. Not so! If someone has a particularly painful business problem, that pain point might move them from Early Majority into Early Adopters.

That’s where you come in. By learning about their business, you can identify the problems they face – and if it’s large enough that they’d adopt the technology sooner.

Learn your technology

You need to know more than just your customers. You need to know all about the technology you’re selling. Think of it as knowing both the shape of the peg and the hole you’re working with.

Most technology companies have blogs (like this one), so reading them is a great start! Subscribing to their mailing list, checking out their knowledge base, and regularly using the product yourself are also good moves.

If you’ve got questions, you can ring up the company and ask more specific details – especially if you’ve got questions you want to ask on behalf of your customers.

BackupAssist has an extensive knowledge base, as well as a helpful sales and support team who are always ready to answer any questions. Whether you’re one of our resellers, a customer, or simply curious, you can test out our backup software for free.

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