Do good engineers need to be good salsepeople?

There an interesting thread happing at and I wanted to see what your opinion was. Essentially, can you be a good engineer without being good at sales?



Mmmm Kay … Did’nt think you could put put spam into a hyperlink. The link is to a discussion board, which my annonymous friend appears to think is spam, so I’ll just add the entire discussion here for people to look at, which, presumably, is not spam? Here’s the meat of the discussion. The question is whether being good at engineering is more important than being good at selling yourself as an engineer:


In looking for entry level positions Mechanical Engineering positions I get a lot of advice to cold call companies and use “sales skills”.

Does this kind of thing frustrate anyone else? I am not a saleswoman, I am an engineer, and very good at it. I did’nt spend the last 4 years learning sales b/c I was busy learning to be an engineer. Why, then, is it so important for me to learn sales to get an engineering job?

Communications skills are important. However “communicating my abilities” should not need to be the same thing as doing a good sales pitch.




I used to feel the same way as you. I hated cold calling! But I applied my skills as an engineer to solve problems, and one of them was to learn to sell. Eventually I got comfortable with it and being able to pitch projects to the execs helped me move up the ranks.
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I know that, but thats frustrating! Would I not be more valuable to an employer if I spent the time learning sales learning how to, say, be an engineer instead?

– what I’m getting at is whats more important, sales skills or engineering?

…when you are seeking employment you have to use good marketing/sales skills…they are not so different from engineering or design skills really…like the r in r&d but you have to do it on the fly and in minutes if not seconds…the same ‘pitch’ will not resonate with everyone or every job opportunity.

You have to be a good salesperson regardless of your profession. As an interviewee you will have the obligation to sell yourself as the most qualified, motivated, and personable candidate. As a rookie you will need to sell your ideas to the team, marketing, and the executive board. As a seasoned professional you will need to sell your component configurations and manufacturing solutions to your clients, who all to often are extremely resistant to any form of change in their current thought/manufacturing processes.

Being in the professional workforce you are a salesperson whether you work for McDonalds or McDonald Douglass…well Boeing now.