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Targeting the C-Level Executives in Selling

By Percy Chong, 18th March 2015

There is nothing more frustrating than chasing a sale only to realised that you are not dealing with the decision maker, or the ultimate decision maker is out of reach!

It is not uncommon for most sales meeting to only reach the “influencer”; and when it comes down to the crunch for a decision to be made, the value or idea behind your pitch would have been funneled through quite a few “hands” or influencers and the impact or value proposed, would invariably be lost in translation.

It therefore makes sense to start your sales process targeting the eventual decision maker. And there is no higher authority than the C-level executives.

However, knowing who your target is, does not necessarily make it easier. The C-level executives are extremely hard to reach! Faced with tons of emails and meetings to attend on a daily basis, and not to mention the frequent business trips, they are hardly at their desk to answer any calls. And even if you are aware that they are available, their competent “gatekeepers” would usually have blocked your calls.

ASG observed that connecting personally through Linkedin or emails (with a well researched, well developed and highly personalised pre-approach message) first, have been proven to be more effective with circumventing the gatekeepers. And the real test begins when you have reached your desired C-level executives.

Be prepare, be concise…don’t waste their time! With their busy schedules, they offer very little opportunity for you to explain yourself. And C-level executives being who they are very sensitive to results, or opportunities to improve both their business’s top-line and bottom-line.

Focus your pitch on the results, the ROIs, the value and benefits that your products and services can bring to their organisation. These information need to be prominently positioned and supported by statistical facts and track records to secure their attention. And all these pre-call preparation including role-play practices cannot be ignored. It helps raise their confidence in you, when you are well rehearsed and you have their company background at your finger tips. Your preparedness translates as respect and a genuine interest in serving them.

Be sure to also include some well-placed probing questions to open up or interest them on the possibilities of providing your solution to deliver their business interest.

And if you are successful at this point, the C-level executives usually delegate the follow-up to their second liners. With their concerns only in the big picture, their staff will be executing the nitty gritty details for the collaboration to take shape.

Not forgetting a final important exercise, try to ask or obtain as much information as you need before you end the call. It will be very tough to get another chance to speak with the C-level executive again. Fact-find to uncover the “soft” information or qualifying details; these information will be crucial when it comes to decision making time, where your knowledge of their broad interest and “hot-button” concerns, may be instrumental in developing a proposals to match their needs.

The crux to dealing with C-level executives lies with being prepared. But no opportunity can even start without you first connecting with them. Most salesperson has problems getting to them in the first place!

So, reconsider your prospecting strategies and align it with a more personalised approach. Mass mailing and random cold-calling are just not effective with these astute leaders. And once you are able to secure some air time with them, you are a step closer to influencing the decision.

Article contributed by Percy Chong (through Asian Sales Guru)
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