A lot has changed in the past 24 months. Companies have been forced to reduce expenditures, place purchases on hold or buy from a competitor that came in with a better deal. But despite increased competition, reduced budgets and a more stringent buying process, decisions are still being made to purchase products and services. What’s changed is a shift in buying behavior. Decisions that had been traditionally made by middle management or a committee now require approval by a senior executive. Most sales people perceive this as a negative and if your team is thinking this way, they may need an attitude adjustment. Here’s why.
Every sales person has experienced how difficult it is to get to the economic buyer. He or she is traditionally buffered by administrators, gatekeepers or committees of people that block your path to the decision maker’s office. The fact that executive management is now engaged in the decision process is the best thing that has happened to sales people in years. It opens up an incredible opportunity for sales professionals to state their case directly to the person who will be making the decision. Not only does this shorten the sales cycle, but it gives them the opportunity to layout the key selling points of your product or service in terms of ROI, which is how executives think.
The Key to Winning More Deals
Selling to an executive can be intimidating and they will expect a lot from you which means you must sell value. They will expect you to take the time to understand their challenges and recommend solutions that will significantly impact their business. Executives look for solutions, not features, and they will respond to sales professionals that can solve their problem. Here are 4 tips for selling to the executive level:
- Let the executive do most of the talking – the more you learn about the prospect’s pain points the better you’ll be prepared to recommend a solution.
- Use examples of how your product or service has addressed similar challenges in the industry. This will demonstrate that you understand the problem and have a solid recommendation or solution.
- Show enthusiasm – if an executive senses your excitement about addressing their problem they will be much more receptive to working with and buying from you.
- Be persistent — it will pay off. Executives of small to mid-size businesses are often crisis managers and can be pulled in several directions. Don’t let them off the hook. Once you’re engaged, get to a decision one way or another.
About the author: Larry Caretsky is the CEO of Commence Corporation , a leading provider of Customer Manager and sales process automation software for small to mid-size businesses. Caretsky has authored several white papers on the subject of sales process management, lead scoring and using CRM software to improve sales execution. For more information see www.commence.com or call 1-877-COMMENCE.