Customer Experience News & Trends

3 strategies for selling to the top decision makers

Senior managers are busy and unless there’s a compelling message or an introduction from a known source, chances are your salespeople won’t even get an appointment, unless they use these three proven approaches.

1. Call the CEO and ask for permission to talk with a lower manager about a product or service. By asking for endorsement, you avoid the “I don’t see sales people” objection. Try to make your message short with high impact.

2. Find an article that you’re confident should be of interest to the prospect and add a short, well-thought out comment about it. “I agree with most of the points the author suggests; however, I do feel we could do something better on his third point and I’d like to talk with you about our approach.” You’re using a published article and adding your point of view.

3. Meet the executive assistant before trying to make an appointment with the decision-maker over the phone. It’s easy to say “no” on the phone, much harder in person.

Proposals for decision makers

After you meet with a key-decision maker, you should send a written proposal that eliminates any doubts and support the facts you presented in your presentation.

Here are suggestions to keep in mind:

  • State the objective. The proposal should show the prospect what the product or service will achieve. If the main focus is to reduce production costs, the proposal should explain how it will give the decision maker a competitive advantage.
  • Reveal the process. The executive should be able to look at the proposal and tell when the product or service will be created, shipped and installed.  Try not to overpromise in this area – decision makers will hold you to them.
  • Display expected results. Remind executives what the benefits are by showing the impact that the new purchase will have. Emphasize why it’s to the decision-maker’s advantage to do business with your company.
  • Provide closing arguments. The chances are you won’t be able to get a second appointment with a key-decision maker. So try to re-state the points that caught the prospect’s attention in the first place.

Adapted from Proven Strategies For Selling to Decision Makers by Bob Heckman (Brown Books). Prior to founding The Allen Group, a sales consulting firm, Mr. Heckman served in executive management positions with IBM and MTech.

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