Online Parts International

Can Technicians really Sell?

Can a great technican make a great salesman?  There are many philosophies behind putting a technician on the sales floor but of course one needs to be ultra careful of where the new sales peron’s loyalty lies. I for one know that most technical people in the computer field are hard core Apple fanatics. Would they find it easy to push an unknown make of tablet to the unsuspecting customer? Technical people in the printer industry love HP – how do they promote Epson or Lexmark when they may have had poor support through the supplier spares chain?

The Dilbert Principle (known as the Peter Principle)
Credit: The Dilbert Principle (1995)

I used to repair video machines or VCRs. Give me a VHS anyday over Betamax. Why? VHS was easy money, Betamax could be tricky as hell to fix although the reproduction of video on the first models (and more recent) were of a far higher standard than that of VHS. (just look at the specs). Often the specification of high end models of any product in any market are more sophisticated than their lesser spec’d brethren. In the computer industry often the sales person is a technical minded person – they have to be. But have they actually had the experience to determine what is rubbish and what is not? Most probably – but only through hearsay. What about motor manufacturers. A friend of mine only used to advocate manufacturers Nissan and Ford – he was a very good mechanic (working for Nissan) but would have made a bad salesman on the VW floor.

I used to be an avid motorcycle enthusiast in my younger years. My first bike was a Honda 50cc.  The engine was more on the workbench than in the bike. Later on I progressed to the XR500R which also gave untold problems, piston hit the valves just out of warranty (camchain). I had a Kawasaki 750Z, a twin which never let me down although the regulator did fail. I then owned a Suzuki 550.  Starting problems and endless problems. My dad had a Yamaha 500cc twin. Burnt a hole in one piston. Which manufacturer would I go to when I buy another bike? Kawasaki. Yes, I am biased – in every case we were negligent, low maintenance and a stupid buy that left me wheel-less. But I am biased – I’ll buy a Kawasaki although Honda is world renowned for it’s reliability (and special tools required to do a job).

I come from the marine industry. In the marine industry the best sales people are the people that have worked in the field and are technical people – in  some companies the sales people are still active in the repair and service of the same equipment they sell. Did you know that Furuno is world renowned for being extremely reliable. I would not have a problem selling Furuno for that very reason. There was some very dodgy British equipment out there thirty years back – the Japanese always seemed to make things better.  Industrial espionage or just knowing that if you buy a Toyota you cannot go wrong. Make no mistake the Chinese are heading that way as well. The South Koreans already lead the field in smartphone technology (ahem!).  The Chinese make the best motherboards. Or is it the cheaper, more bang for the buck technology that makes them so popular.

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