Why engineers are afraid to specify your product and what to do about it
by Eddie Brunet, Jr., P.E., NoonPi President
Engineers are risk averse.
That’s one reason why engineers are reluctant to specify a new manufacturer or a new product. It carries a risk. A risk of the unknown.
The safe bet for the engineer is to just use the same widget that he specified on the last project. For one thing, he knows that the widget worked the last time. And if the old widget fails or doesn’t meet performance expectations and fingers start pointing in his direction, the engineer has a good defense: “I just specified the same widget that we’ve always used.”
That’s not to say that engineers are not open to new innovations and new products. They are willing to consider a new manufacturer or a new product if it results in better performance or cost savings. But engineers are generally resistant to change because there’s comfort in familiarity. That’s why it can be difficult to even get an audience with an engineer. Switching to a new manufacturer requires the engineer to “stick his neck out” and risk the possibility of failure.
That’s a real problem for an industrial marketer trying to reach new prospects. Thankfully, there’s a way through this problem. The solution is to mitigate the fear of the unknown by gaining the engineer’s trust. How do you do that?
One way to build trust is by hosting free PDH events for engineers: webinars, lunch and learns and/or online courses.
In a PDH event, you educate the engineer on a topic related to the products you sell, and you award professional development hours (PDH) to the engineer. Hosting PDH events for engineers is an effective way to establish credibility and build relationships with potential customers. This can help to reduce skepticism and build trust, making it more likely that an engineer will consider specifying your product in the future.
As an engineer attends your PDH events and learns from your salesperson’s or SME’s wealth of knowledge and experience, he will come to view them as a topic authority. He will see your company as a trusted information source that he can rely on to help solve his problems.
Of course, it’s important to recognize that establishing credibility through PDH events is just one step in a larger process of building relationships with engineers. Ultimately, it will be necessary to demonstrate the quality and reliability of your products. But by providing engineers with valuable information and professional development opportunities, you can help to lay the foundation for a successful long-term business relationship.
If you’d like to speak with an expert to learn more about how to use PDH events to connect with engineers, book a free consultation.