Executive Selling Tips
the ultimate decision makers is the most expedient way to sell your
company’s product or service. Sometimes, the decision-making
process is delegated to individuals within various parts of
a company’s hierarchy. They are tasked with the evaluation and selection
of a product
or service. However, depending on the size or complexity of
a purchase, some decisions will rest solely upon executive-level
management. For example, a Chief Information Officer will be the
one involved in selecting a corporate communications system that
affects over 20,000 employees worldwide. Likewise, the Chief Financial
Officer of a company will probably be the one who decides what accounting
firm to use to ensure they are complying with appropriate SEC regulations.
Selling on an
executive level has obvious advantages.
You’ll know you’re dealing with the person who will ultimately sign
off on your proposal. However, even the most experienced sales professionals
need to keep some important points
in mind. Executives have different needs than mid-level
managers or other people with authority in an organization.
Over the years, research has shown that while executives share many
traits with those who work for them, they also have particular
needs that must be addressed.
Listed below are some important pointers and guidelines that
should be followed with selling at the executive level:
- Use Your Time Wisely - Your sales
meetings need to be well-organized and concise. You should consider
yourself blessed if you were able to finally make it in front
of a member of the executive
team. Make most of your time and use it wisely. Executives
are busy and don’t want to feel like their time is wasted.
- Put on Your Best – When you deal
with executives, you need to meet a higher standard than when
dealing with lower level-decision makers. Executives
do tend to be more judgmental
and critical. When meeting with an executive, put on your
best show to impress key decision-makers.
- Follow the Boy Scout Motto – Be
prepared. Executives don’t want to fool around with someone who
isn’t ready for a meeting. They expect you to be able to provide
answers or at least be able to track them down. Knowledge
and preparedness is crucial. Executives want to hear from
subject matter experts and those with an in-depth and strategic
understanding of the topic at hand. If necessary, bring along
a technical expert or someone who can provide more in-depth detail.
Don’t bring a warm body… bring one of your sharpest colleagues.
- Look for the Right Hook – Executives
may hit you with a question out of left field. When going into
a meeting, expect the unexpected. A meeting may take a completely
different direction. This is something that can happen after
the sale, too. Learn how to think on your feet. Executives respect
those individuals who are able to quickly adapt to a changing
- Be Professional – No matter what
you do, be professional. Professionalism applies to your wardrobe,
behavior, communication and preparedness.
- Maintain Integrity – Executives
look to do business with those who will act ethically and with
integrity. Mind your Ps and Qs and make sure that you follow
through on your commitments, don’t make promises you can’t keep
and avoid badmouthing other competitors.
- Speak to their Strategic Concerns –
When discussing the benefits of your product or service, speak
the executive’s language. They’re concerned with business
issues. Use benefit statements and speak to the business
issues of greatest concern to them.
- Loosen Up – While some nervousness
is to be expected, don’t become overwhelmed. Executives will see
right through someone who is in over their head. Try to maintain
your general personality but do so in a professional manner. Just
yourself and do what you do best without being too stuffy
to executives means you are dealing with those who can make or break
a deal. They are the ones who ultimately sign the checks. Selling
to executives requires extra preparation and skill but the financial
rewards can be larger and much more lucrative.