Photo Credit: <a href="">Josh D J E Palmer</a> via <a href="">Compfight</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Selling to Technical People

Photo Credit: Josh D J E Palmer via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Josh D J E Palmer via Compfight cc

There is a myriad of stereotypes about technical people. I have heard most of them from people who can get frustrated with us. Working in the technology field for over fifteen years I have run across some interesting personalities.  The classic story is how people tell me that they have a hard time talking to technology people. Not all of us our quiet introverts but, there are quite a few.

I once worked with a guy, we will call him Gary. He was an interesting person, he loved to collect data about everything. He actually had sensors all over his home to collect the temperature data. He was into big data before there was such a thing. This should be no shock to you that technical people, on the whole, can be very analytical.


If you are selling to technology people be prepared for a lot of questions and it can get deep into the weeds fast. Why should a sales representative care about this? To be honest, many sales representatives don’t and they have a problem getting any business. When you are in selling situations you need to be prepared for the analytical questions that might come your way.

This analytical mindset is in all levels of the technology departments. I was recently talking with a colleague who was on a sales call and the CIO started asking probing questions about the technology. So don’t assume that true decision maker won’t as these questions.

Detail oriented

We can get hung up on details that can bog down discussions and negotiations. One technique that I have seen work successfully in these situations is to allow them to talk through their concerns. Then to bring the conversation back to the values of your placement or candidate. Sometimes all it takes is for them to feel understood and listened to.

Precision and Accuracy

As you look at personality types many technical professionals are high C on the DISC profile. They will look for precision in their words and actions. Accuracy is important in proposals and information as well. Sales representatives are high D and I focused on Action or high in I and S geared toward Relationships. This precision and accuracy may frustrate you as you want to make the deal. Being prepared for these concerns you can make your sales process move smoother.


I remember working with a few placement professionals who had candidates that were all “superstars”. I interviewed a few these candidates and found them unimpressive. Overselling these candidates that were in no way impressive earned this guy a ticket to the end of the line.

Nonverbal cues

Technical people can be a quiet bunch to work with. If you find this to be the case make sure you listen for more than words but use your eyes to note any nonverbal cues. If they seem to be disengaged you probably are not getting through. Perhaps you need to try a new technique or it may be a bad time and you may need to try again another day. If you catch someone on a busy day and try to really push them you may make a bad impression.


One of my biggest pet peeves when talking with a staffing executive is when they lead with prospects. “I have got a great .Net developer for you.” Once I heard .Net I was completely annoyed with this person. They did not have an understanding of what I do or my role in the organization. At the time, I heard this our entire company had no .Net development.

If first seek to understand our prospects then we can propose the proper placements. Once we know what the company is looking for we can qualify the customer and come in with people that can actually help them out.


When you approach a technical person in a selling situation you need to build trust. One key to getting the relationship established is aimed for collaboration. I heard one person put it this way, “we are looking for collaborative partners not prospect pedalers.” When you aim just to make a placement and hit your quota you will miss the mark. Starting with service and collaboration in mind will put you on a sound footing from the start.
These are a few points that I think will help you sell to technical people. They have a slightly different approach but they can be worked with. Looking over the details first can be a good start for these detail, minded people. By trying not to oversell every candidate and seeking first to understand will give you a leg up on the competition.

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