Monday, March 14, 2016

A Secret to Selling Success to Executives

A man walks on stilts high above all the others

If you really want to sell at the executive level, you need to understand the executive mindset. 

Most executives are all about results. They do not want all the details about how your offering works…that’s for their senior management to track and figure out. Executives want to know the positive and measurable impact your solutions will have on their bottom line. How can you solve an important challenge that they face, boost current revenues, or prepare their organization for success in the future? In other words, how can you help them achieve success, personally, professionally and organizationally? 

What drives most executives centers around success. So the secret that is rarely highlighted in standard executive sales training is that you should accentuate the positive. Executives are well aware of the negative. Let others probe for the “points of pain.” Distinguish yourself and your solutions by providing positive and future-oriented business outcomes.

First you need to know their most important strategic goals. What are your executive buyer’s priorities for the organization? And how will they measure progress toward that goal? The more you can focus on their business priorities, the more you will be seen as a business partner who deserves their time, attention and respect. 

A few more hints:

1. Don’t ask too many questions.
If you’ve done your research thoroughly, you should be prepared with compelling thoughts and insights to share. If you question too much without offering value that links to their most pressing issues, the executive is apt to bounce you down the ladder to a lower level where you may well belong.

2. Make it short and sweet.
When it comes time in the discussion to describe your solution, be succinct. Let the executive probe for more details according to their level of interest and need to know. If slides are involved, keep them to an absolute minimum and pull them out only if they help to illustrate a critical point. 

3. Have relevant case studies and testimonials at the ready.
Similar stories of success in similar situations and industries can be very powerful in moving an executive toward the buy decision. Use them as appropriate and when they illustrate a success that the executive can identify with and find of value.

When you have landed an appointment in the C-Suite, remember to keep focused on the business. That is how you can impress executives, sell more effectively and earn the envied position of trusted advisor. 

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