Today’s top selling account executives are expert at creating long lasting C-Suite relationships based on win-win outcomes, understanding and trust. Successfully creating partnerships and gaining influence in the C-suite is a function of discovering and thoroughly comprehending what’s important to your client executives. These leaders have a completely different profile from other functional areas within the company that you may sell to like engineering or purchasing. To approach them the same way is sure to tag you “vendor” versus the coveted title of “trusted advisor”. So maximize your effectiveness by taking on their management perspective and make sure to incorporate these 10 essential steps:
- Get to know as much as possible about your executive and his organization prior to your call by doing your homework. Online research includes reading and fully comprehending financial statements (footnotes are a great source of information!). Also interview internal coaches and external contacts for insight on your exec’s personality and priorities as well as organizational goals and objectives.
- Obtain a warm reference whenever possible. It’s always better received than a cold call.
- Execs have heavy schedules and competing priorities. So respect their very limited time.
- Get to know their assistants. They can be a great resource in scheduling and follow up to alleviate “gate keeper” syndrome.
- Create intimacy with friendliness, empathy and confidence
- Deliver valuable insight that goes beyond the obvious — not just “information” (management can get the same facts and stats you have!). This should be an understanding that is sure to help with decision making or crafting a business or financial solution to an existing challenge, issue or problem. The unique perspective that you and your company bring as a result of being highly informed is your differential advantage.
- Focus on total solutions, not just the stand alone-benefits your product delivers. Put your product’s features in a context that broadens the implications for their business.
- Co-create vision that will drive results including:
- Increasing revenues
- Reducing costs, time to market, hiring costs, inventories, cost of goods sold or receivables
- Rely on data to drive your points. Senior execs are analytical so have data to back up your claims. Talk in their terms: ROI, ROE.
- Be well-informed by anticipating needs, questions and information gaps
One of the biggest mistakes even the most seasoned salespeople make is relying on internal contacts to sell their solutions up the chain or coordinate needed management sign-offs on purchase orders. By focusing your attention on the boardroom you’ll gain important direct access to the ultimate decision makers and signatories in the organization. Imagine the value of this direct relationship not only during the sales process but in developing timelines to negotiate and close your deals faster!
Enjoy this article? Be sure to click “Subscribe” above. We’ll ensure you receive Part 2 of this series as we explore essential elements to successfully promote your C-Suite meeting agenda.