Monday, November 19, 2012

Selling to Executives – 4 Keys to Being Treated Like a Peer

Selling to executives is different than selling to middle management or other levels of an organization.

Success requires a unique approach, a different attitude, and it comes with very different expectations. Here are four tips to set you and your sales team up for success when it comes to selling to the “corner office.”

  1. Be Prepared. Before walking into a C-Level meeting, make sure that you have done your homework. This includes knowing how and why your executive buyer’s investment decisions are made, how they and their company are measured, their top 3-5 strategic priorities, and the financial benefit your solution provides.

  2. Be Succinct. Executives are busy with multiple priorities vying for their attention. Be clear, be focused, and get to the point with as few words as possible. This all must be done with a compelling message, the appropriate level of confidence, and a keen eye on building an executive-level relationship. Do not be fooled. This takes practice. Winging it with a CXO does not work.

  3. Be Authentic. It has been said that dogs and bees can smell fear. While that may or may not be true, we do know that most executives can smell B.S. from a mile away. To build rapport, be sincere, talk straight, and be yourself. Anything else will cause you to lose credibility and the deal.

  4. Be Easy. Executives expect you to make the first step in the relationship easy for them. Some even expect it to be free. To begin a long-term relationship, be magnanimous, add value generously, and make it easy for them to “try you on.”

Executive decision makers want to work with people who can help them succeed. So remember, “behave at their level” if you want to be “treated at their level.”

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