Thinking about what causes good b2b sales people to lose their confidence, feel inadequate relative to a key executive and question their right to engage a key executive prospect. Thought I should share this information so you can begin to manage their impact relative to your b2b sales success.
Yes, their are critical factors keeping b2b sales people in knots due to their personal doubts about their own abilities or merits to engage these top level people.
NEWS FLASH: These top level executives have a major match point to you – yes, they are human beings just like you! Therefore, they put their pants on the same way you do, tie their ties just like you and use their ability to talk in making the communication process effective. From this point of view, you are both equals.
So, what are these big eight critical concerns in dealing with top level executives? Here are the eight concerns, presented as questions, I see and hear about most often…
- Who is the Dominant Decision Maker?
Are you really getting to the real decision maker or just a title with little authority. Doing your homework, getting an insider as a coach and asking questions as to the key decision maker will help you here.
- Are You Calling on the Right Executive?
Sometimes the right executive is at a lower level than you anticipated. Again, doing your homework, thinking about the sales objective while matching the executive with the most to gain in improving the situation and discussing the decision making process with an insider coach will improve your odds.
- Using the Best Methods for Getting the Executives Attention?
How should you approach a key executive? The best research says to get an introduction to the executive from someone within the organization – the more important the person introducing you the better. Also, lose the traditional sales methods and tactics, you are there to become an advisor to the executive.
- Is the Timing Right Relative to the Current Buying Cycle?
Most b2b sales people become aware of a sales opportunity after the buying process is in full motion. The key is get in early and set the standards for any solutions to be offered. Coming in too late reflects a “me too approach” which gets you moved down to the cost cutters.
- Can the Gatekeepers Become a Helper?
If you respect the gatekeepers as valuable people who are doing their jobs – quite well I might add – then there is hope for you to gain a helper. In fact, my biggest sales had an assist from the executive gatekeeper who thought I was worth the risk and told the executive so in no uncertain words. Yeah, gatekeepers!
- Do I Know the Key Business Objectives of the Executive?
Here is another opportunity for doing your homework, reading 10-K reports of public companies, researching the local business journals and business sections of local newspapers, and finding a higher level coach to advise you on the really important objectives or goals for the executive to accomplish.
- What if the Executive Asks a Question I Can’t Answer?
Be humble and if you don’t know the answer – admit it, state you will find out and get back to the executive or ask more questions for clarity regarding the real purpose of the question. This is no time for a EGO malfunction. There is little benefit from winging it at this point. Stay calm and confident and find the answer and report back at a later date. It actually gives you a reason to get back with the executive.
- If I Go Over the Head of my Current Contact, Is our Relationship Doomed?
It could be if you are rude about it. The key here is if you are going for a big change decision from the customer or potential customer – you will probably need to go higher for this type of decision. Remember, the status que is all about doing the same things with the same people on a routine basis. Or, another way of looking at this is to keep doing the same things and expecting the different results is – well – the definition of insanity. Take a risk and gain a higher reward. Safe seldom wins the big deals.
These eight critical questions should be addressed – planned out, thought out and practices in order to gain the confidence needed to win more often. Join the ranks of the B2B Sales Superstars – know how to deal with your own doubts and insecurities.