Why do engineers respond negatively to most marketing tactics? It isn’t just engineers, but most technical people who do. This is how I think, and it never ceases to amuse me how annoying the tactics that work on most people truly are. Let’s look at a few common traits in engineers, based on my experience as one.
1. Engineers are problem solversand they’ve been trained to solve problems analytically from a very young age. The formal engineering training might not have started at age 10, but most engineers excelled at math and science in school because they understand it. For instance, I can think of half a dozen ways to spend a week at the beach without buying a timeshare.
2. Engineers know how to do research.They also want to have the opportunity to answer questions that form in their mind. Tell the engineer that the offer expires at midnight, it’s likely the engineer just walks away.
3. Engineers rarely make impulse buys.This is similar to knowing how to do research, but it has more to do with those end caps at the supermarket or the candy bars in the checkout line at the electronics store. When an engineer shops, they generally know what they came in to buy and just want to get it bought. They also know how much money they want to spend at that store.
4. If an engineer says not interested,it usually meant at face value. Sure, some people are holding out for a better price, but not usually for an engineer. I once sat an extra twenty minutes at a car dealer with the sales manager trying to get me to buy a Crown Victoria I only test drove because I wanted the experience of driving one for a couple of miles. I never had any intention of buying it. (The other car I drove was a different story.) The sales manager couldn’t have paid me to take the Crown Vic off his hands. He didn’t recognize that I really did not want the car.
5. Engineers value their time.Sales scripts, webinars with endless teasers, and used car sales tactics like walking away to let the customer “think about it” don’t sit well at all. Withholding that one critical piece of information the engineer wants—how much is this going to cost—is a certain way to increase the odds of the engineer looking to exit the discussion now.
6. Engineers don’t generally make emotional purchases.Tugging on the heart strings is a waste of time with the engineer, and often backfires. Instead of causing the engineer to daydream, it causes rolling eyes, glances at the wristwatch, and a strong wish that the sales person would “cut the crap.”
7. The engineer wants to be given credit for being an intelligent person.This statement kind of wraps the first six into a neat bundle. Respect the engineer’s intelligence and you’ll keep the customer listening a lot longer.
Next time you have a client in, be sure to remember this list. It might help you to figure out how engineers respond negatively.