Selling At the C-Level: 5 Essential Tips
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Posted by: Admin
Selling to an
executive is multidimensional and often not easy.
We spoke to
several executives across industries and across geographical locations to
identify what they wanted from consultants.
Three areas were consistently cited
- relevancy, credibility and
trust. In order to get a seat at the
executive table one needs to demonstrate competency in these areas. How do you do this? Consider these 5 essential tips.
#1 Leverage two agendas - yours and the executive.
to Jeff Thull, CEO and President, Prime Resource, your objective is to
establish relevancy and to be seen as a valued business resource.
you want to gain sponsorship for an extended diagnosis for at lower levels in
executive’s objective is getting ideas and resources to execute his/her
strategy. A second objective is to get help aligning his/her internal resources
with his/her strategy.
Tip #2 Do your research.
beyond the basic facts about the company. Be prepared to share new info such as
what competitors are doing; or what you have been doing for similar companies.
Remember most executives have accessed the internet. Draw on both public and
private sources. An executive from a pharmaceutical firm noted that he was
impressed when information from the company’s annual report was cited. For him it showed that the consultant did
Tip #3 Prepare for tough questions.
may feel insecure, impatient, worried, skeptical, and suspicious when taking on
the role as a buyer. They are not trying to throw you under the bus. Their focus consists of 3 questions. Can you
do the engagement? Will you do the engagement (motivation) and is there a fit
with the company culture?
Tip #4 Sell a
task is to is to engage, intrigue and to spark interest. Pitching products and
services with the initial communication should be minimized. An executive from the airline industry
commented "I want to talk about me and my situation.” I want someone who feels
my pain.” A line from the movie Wall Street provides another
perspective. Gordon Geckko tells Bud
Fox, "You had what it took to get into
my office, the question is do you have
what it takes to stay.”
Tip #5 Get Your "Net”
networking can lead to a personal introduction to the executive. Use your
networking circle, to gather info on the executives’ life and interests. Don’t
have a networking circle? Now is the time to start building one. It begins with
collaboration. You may have industry
contacts that you can share with a colleague.
He/she may reciprocate with his/her industry contacts.
note. Depending on your level of boldness, you can try to meet the executive
socially and then use that meeting to spur a business meeting.
from these resources:
The Key to the C-Suite: What You Need
to Know to Sell Successfully to Top Executives by Michael Nick and Jill Konarth
Visionary Selling: How to Get to Top
Executives And How to Sell Them When You’re There by Barbara Geraghty
Beyond Selling Value by Mark Shonka and Dan Kosch
Leslie Shields, CPC, is the President of Chevannes
Global Group, offering
consulting and coaching to small businesses. Our leadership team has over
50 combined years of diverse experience brought from corporate, government,
non-profit and entrepreneurial sectors. What differentiates us is our unique
blendof services from ourown business evaluation tools to how we
coach and strategize to move businesses forward. email@example.com