Leave Your Propeller Hat At Home

“My senses are telling me someone wants me to over-explain something.”

It is absolutely possible to have too much of a good thing.

In the various AV and CE channels, you’ll find that at least a trickle of nerdiness runs through most of the people who work there.

In some, it’s not so much a trickle, as it is a raging river.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s that level of nerdiness that makes us engage with the technology we work with: to get our heads around it and understand it, inside and out.

What’s important is to bear in mind that there’s a time and a place for allowing your inner nerd to run wild, and there’s a time to lock it down.

More often than not, the time to keep your inner nerd locked down is when you’re talking to end users.

End users, most of the time, do not care about the deep inner workings of the technology they’re paying for.

Let me emphasize: They. Do. Not. Care.

Exhibit A in defense of my assertion is that Sales 101 is the Feature/Benefit Sell.

Feature: THIS is what the product does.

Benefit: THIS is why the product will make your life better.

The Sell: You agree? Great, when do you want it installed?

The Feature/Benefit Sell is elementary. And you will notice there’s something absent from it:

WHY the product does what it does.

Do you wonder why this elementary sales technique doesn’t cover the whys and wherefores of how the product works?

Simple. Ask the end-user and they’re tell you: They. Don’t. Care.

Geek out on your end-user customers, and you watch their eyes roll back into their heads, and watch closing on the project get further away from you.

I have stories for days that will underscore my point, but I’ll leave you with just one.

I used to know a guy who ran his own alarm install company, and he shared with me one experience he had where he had sold an older couple on a security system.

The customer was extremely technophobic, and worried that something complex would be difficult for them to use.

He assured them that nothing could be further from the truth, and that their alarm panel would be as easy to use as a light switch.

He closed them on the deal, and scheduled his installer to do the job.

Now, he knew his installer was a massive nerd, so proactively he warned the installer about the client. He gave the installer rigid and specific instructions: Install the system. Show the client how to turn the panel on when they leave the house and off when they return. Say NOTHING about how any of it works.

His installer put in the sensors and the alarm panel. He showed the clients how to turn the panel on and off. So far so good.
But he couldn’t help himself. Like a knowledge volcano, the pressure built up inside, and he HAD to share with the client everything he knew about motion detectors, glass break sensors, and remote polling over the phone line.

The poor company owner was on the receiving end of a panicked phone call from the customer: “YOU’VE GOT TO TAKE THIS CRAZY SYSTEM OUT OF OUR HOUSE!!! WHAT DID YOU GET US INTO !!!???”

Be a nerd about technology all you want on your own time, but don’t nerd yourself out of the sale.