Many sales people struggle with how to get meetings with the C suite. They do not understand why they are constantly being pushed down in the organization. Or, they understand why they are pushed down, but they don’t know what to do differently. The answer may be as simple as this: just change the conversation.
Remember, you will resonate with the people you sound like. If you talk about the features and functions of your products and services, then you will be relegated to those who care about features and functions. Does your product include this, or not include that?
If you introduce yourself, your company and your products, then you’re focusing on you. Therefore, you will be referred to anyone but the C suite. It will show that you do not care much about their business or what they are trying to achieve since it’s all about you. Why should they take your call or schedule a meeting if you are going to pitch them on what you assume they need? Without doing any research to find out what they are trying to accomplish and why it is important to them? If you want to get meetings with the C suite, then it will take a bit more research, knowledge and positioning.
Executives want to be successful. Most C suite teams will create a two- to three-year strategy for achieving business goals within a particular timeframe. They know that different products and services can help them accomplish whatever it is they need to accomplish. However, they don’t care about the features and functions.
What the C suite does care about is that you understand how you can help them deliver on business goals they have committed to attaining. In that context, they’ll be interested in where and how your products and services have been successfully implemented to achieve the same or similar business problem.
Your job as sales people is to be able to talk in the C suite channel. To do this, you need to be an ambassador of knowledge. You should be able to articulate what you know about their business, the latest trends in their space, and what other similar organizations are doing based on their risk tolerances. Are the C suite executives typically leaders in their field, always ahead of the curve? Or are they a bit more conservative and wait on others to take the plunge first?
Reaching the C suite is all about changing the conversation. This may take some practice. Try these strategies with people you talk with often and see how it changes the conversation. Instead of talking about the details included in a request for information (RFI) or proof of concept, do extensive research and have a business discussion to better understand what will make them successful and where their priorities are. But be careful that they may be trained – perhaps by you – to only talk in a relegated channel focused on your products and services.
Then, get them to expand the context and talk more about what they are looking to accomplish both inside and outside of your realm. This will give you the whole picture through their lens and enable you to better understand the business results they are trying to achieve.
Getting meetings with the C suite is simple. Talk about the things executives care about the most. And, I can guarantee, it will not be about your products and services.