Thursday, March 11, 2010

Selling at the C-Level

Sometimes it’s the C-Level customer that is the roadblock because they do not understand the difference between someone selling them a product and someone trying to help. Sometimes it’s because the sales person is still stuck in the “feature, benefit, close” sales process.
The April 2009 Harvard Business Review posed the question “Who can help the CEO?” The answer is other CEOs, or peers. This can make it difficult to engage with C-Level Executives and appropriate decision makers in organisations, unless they see you as a peer.
Many companies, even consultants, try a front on approach that necessitates a product based discussion. Whilst it might be true that your product may eventually fit a possible client, a product based approach generally ends up in an early discussion of feature, benefit and price.
Based on prior experience I recommend a course of action that engages the target decision makers at a business level that is not directly related to your product. My experience shows that it is easier to get C-Level Executives into a smaller setting when they know that the focus of the meeting will be them, not the technology or services company.
The idea of peer support becomes viable in the smaller environment and is in line with current thought leadership in business approaches. The best result is that in being part of the discussion, you too become a peer.

1 comment:

  1. LOL... I've seen platinum selling, value based selling, ROI etc etc... so many concepts I think it gets confusing at times. At the end of the day if the C-level can see a return (eg more profit, reduced cost) then you're good to go. I havent seen many decisions based on 'all stakeholders'. Its a cut throat world and morals can be sadly left behind...quick wins and onto the next deal...