When selling your IT Services you should always meet with the decision makers. In most cases, this is the owner or CEO of a business—what some sales professionals call the “C-suite.” But these are busy people and it’s often difficult to meet with them. Getting a first meeting can be tough, but it’s even more difficult to get repeat meetings, and often that’s what you need to sell your IT Services.
In his article “3 Tips For Selling to the C-Suite,” Ago Cluytens has some helpful advice:
Do Your Research Sure, you can check out your prospect’s website, read their annual reports, search for executives’ background information on Google or LinkedIn, and prepare a list of questions, but this isn’t enough. When preparing for a meeting with an executive, you’ll want to accomplish four key things:
- Come across as an expert.
- Build the relationship.
- Stroke their ego a little.
- Discover their agenda.
How do you do this? Begin by calling her assistant and asking a few questions to get some basic information; then get in touch with her business manager, or one of her peers to learn more; read a script from a talk she recently presented at an industry conference; read a white paper she wrote; and find a quote from a recent industry magazine. After you’ve done this you should find one topic she cares about to start up a conversation. Say something like:
“Hey Jane, I was struck by one of your comments in the Q3 analyst update. When you talked about your firm’s expansion into emerging markets, it seems you were very successful at capturing market share in Asia-Pacific. Our own research has shown that the real challenge is often not just capturing market share, but maintaining it over time. I wonder: what are your thoughts on that?”
By stating this you’ve proven that you did some extensive research and you’ve established yourself as an expert. You’ve also prompted her to provide you even more information.
Plan Each Conversation With a Goal in Mind. When selling to the “C-suite,”you may find that you’ve either over-prepared with information that leaves little or no room for anything else (like discussing a potential service or product you want to sell), or you give control to the executive and let her run the meeting. Yes, you’ll please the executive because she can lead the discussion, but you won’t get your points across. Instead, you should have prepared a bullet-point outline of the topics that you want to address. Plan it out from start to finish, with the end point being your overall goal. List the topics you must discuss to get your point across that leads the executive along a “journey” that ends at your final “destination” (goal). Where do you want to stop over on the way? What are the “must sees” (must dos) while you’re taking her on this journey? Preparing and planning the major points along the “journey” will help ensure you address your agenda as well as hers.
Be Confident and Poised Often. You can probably pass the test, but not if you have difficulties when under pressure. You might get tongue-tied, or fumble with words trying to prove a point. You can prevent this by using a simple three-step technique to help you calm down and focus. First, get control of your breathing; take three breaths, as you breathe in through your nose, count to five, as you breathe out through your mouth, count to eight. Second, instead of focusing on what’s in front of you, use your peripheral vision to become aware of what’s at the corner of your eyes so you can literally see the bigger picture. Third, put both feet firmly on the ground, and remind yourself that you’re grounded, and you know what to do. Don’t worry about taking a bit longer to respond. The executive will think you are taking your time to put together a well thought-out response.
Using these three simple tips when selling to the C-suite will help you get in control of the conversation and get to the top when selling.
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