There have been a lot of articles and posts written on how to effectively engage with and sell to senior executives. Common how-to advice includes: speaking in financial and investment terms, solving business problems, increasing company profits, etc. The goal of this post is to build upon those writings by providing three new tips for increasing seller credibility and influence when engaging at the executive-level.
Tip 1: Capture Interest – Sellers must be able to capture a senior executive’s interest to create opportunities and make things happen. Bringing them ideas and information that they have never heard or seen before is effective. While raw data is not that interesting, the story it tells can be. Senior executives are always interested in analysis, insight and trends that give them new perspective on their business, competitors and market.
Tip 2: Communicate Succinctly – Sellers must be able to write and speak succinctly (talk in bullets) and in business priority when engaging with senior executives. This includes having the ability to condense and synthesize large amounts of complex data and information down into simple, powerful thoughts and ideas. Effective sellers can present with 1-3 slides and talk around 3-5 bullets on each. If you cannot do this, your subject matter is probably too complex.
Tip 3: Present Well – Sellers must be able to present well to senior executives. This includes being ready to field questions both in and out of the order of the content. In addition to conveying knowledge and perspective, effective sellers also manage the time. If they have 15-minutes, but the senior executive takes up five of them on one area, they can prioritize and net the remaining content in the next ten minutes for maximum impact.
Capturing interest, communicating succinctly and presenting well will also help sellers to establish equal business stature with senior executives. As a general rule, power buys from power. Thus, it is critical that sellers be and remain on the same level as senior executives. If sellers can truly help senior executives solve problems and create impact within their organizations, they should operate with confidence throughout the engagement.
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