The secret to selling to engineers

Have you ever tried to sell something to an engineer or a scientist?

It’s not impossible, they buy things every day. But the process of marketing to an engineer can be different.

That’s why I was so excited to meet Kevin Rokosh, the “engineer’s copywriter” and the author of  Writing to Reach Engineers; the Top 7 strategies,(Which is available on his website, here). He specializes in writing business to business sales copy for other engineers.

He was generous enough to offer his insights into how to make marketing materials that appeal to engineers.

Mandy: What do companies need to understand when they are marketing to engineers?

Kevin: They need to understand the nature of engineers. We are problem solvers. And we like to solve problems on our own.

So your marketing needs to make it possible for your customers to learn about your products and services in such a way that they are coming up with solutions on their own, and moving toward an understanding of the problems that they are trying to solve, until he reaches a point where he realizes that he needs help. He’s going to have to buy something.

When you’re informing engineers about your products, you don’t want to make the sale too soon – because you can turn them off. Because most engineers don’t like dealing with sales people too soon, and if they get a phone call from a sales person before they’re ready it will be a problem.

Engineers are trained to solve problems, so you need to give them the tools and the information that they need to solve the problem.

Mandy: If they are so driven to solve problems by themselves, how can anyone make a sale?

Kevin: We live in a complex world, and eventually they’re going to reach a point where they need to buy something. It may be a part, or a piece of software.

Even someone who likes to do things on their own will realize that if it’s already done for you, it makes sense to get it.

Mandy: What specific marketing pieces will allow them to feel like they’re doing their research, and not just being sold?

Kevin: White papers work well, because they are very educational. You can use a white paper to inform people about a new technology, or talk about a problem and possible solutions.

There are sell sheets, which show features and specifications of certain parts. In many cases, engineers just need a sheet that will show me at a glance if the product meets my specifications so that they can make a materials list.

You can create webinars, which is kind of like taking a white paper and turning it into an online teaching session.

Mandy: What kind of language should you use?

Kevin: It shouldn’t be too technical, because busy people don’t have a lot of time to digest and pore over a document.

You don’t want sentences to be too long.

You don’t want huge blocks of text that will make it look hard to read.

The language that you want to use is what we call “business conversation” style. Imagine two engineers sitting in the cafeteria talking about their project. They’re not going to sound like textbooks. They’re going to be using everyday language, short phrases and sentence fragments.

So if you can write your materials in that same kind of language, it will make it more believable and it will stick better in the buyer’s mind.

Check out Kevin’s book, Writing to Reach Engineers; the Top Seven Strategies. You can get it on his website

To find out more about white papers, read my article, “White Papers are Simple to Understand When You Pick Your Favorite Flavor.”