What do you do when you're in a sales conversation and the prospect asks for a feature you don't have?
Most salespeople answer in one of these ways:
It's the kind of overpromise/underdeliver answer you'd expect from a sales rep eager to earn a commission. Lots of hot air.
What's fascinating to me is how engineers often handle the same scenario completely different.
Engineers are a lot more elegant and skilfull about it:
That's a brilliant response! They're now finding out the real need behind the feature! What does the prospect actually mean when he asks for that feature? What specifically does he need this for? What's the use-case?
Oftentimes the prospect will then respond by telling them about some kind of workflow. In order to understand the workflow and needs of the prospect better, an engineer will typically ask more specific follow-up questions.
At the end of this process, the engineer will basically say one of these things:
As a sales connoisseur, I love this. It's. Pure. Beauty.
Engineers are often a lot more precise in identifying and understanding the prospect's needs, and thus they're often better equipped to see if the product can fulfill these needs. That's what sales is all about.
Engineers are the ultimate solution-driven salespeople. I've seen them come up with workarounds, or combining it with another product, or find a hack on the prospect's side that makes it all work.
Engineers can often find another way to accomplish the same thing with the software as it currently is—without having to rely on the missing feature!
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