Annie and I worked together for years: me as a service engineer and her as a sales engineer. I felt comfortable in that role, but Annie convinced me to go that one step further and join her in sales. It’s because of her I became a salesman.

There’s more in you than you think

“Ludo,” she said, “you’re a first-rate service engineer, but you’ve got more to offer than just working on machines.” I hesitated for ages, I can tell you. I’m passionate about technology, that’s for sure, but was I up to the task of selling the machines myself? And would a job in sales suit my character? Taking on the role of mentor, Annie gradually taught me what it takes to become a good sales engineer. And it’s certainly not about having the gift of the gab and showing off. More about that in my next posts, but now I want to talk about the first thing she taught me, because it had nothing to do with selling. Or so I thought.

Plastic-wrapped meat

The very first thing Annie taught me was that I had to do the shopping myself. I love food and eating well, but it’s my wife who does the shopping. But when Annie sent me to a supermarket, I went. And then I went to another one, and another. Armed with my camera, I also began to track trends and get a feel for what was going on in the packaging world. I used to believe that the quality of food in supermarkets could never compete with what a good old-fashioned local butcher or baker had to offer. But now I know better. I’ve realised what strict hygiene and quality standards food such as meat in plastic packaging has to comply with and now I wouldn’t buy it any other way. And yes, it also gives me a glow when I see packaging on the shelves that’s made by our GEA PowerPak machines 

Only when you make your client’s problems your own problems will you find solutions that work – Ludo Tuyaerts, Senior Sales Engineer GEA Belgium

Ask the right questions

So thanks to Annie, I go shopping myself and wholeheartedly agree with her when she says: “Only when you make your client’s problems your own problems will you find solutions that work.” The biggest challenge for a sales engineer is not answering technical questions, but solving the particular problem your client is grappling with.

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