Sales Strategy 101: How to Sell To Decision Makers
If you are not calling on the decision-makers who can buy from you, you’re wasting valuable time and resources and you need to change your sales strategy.
Water seeks its own level and the same can be said of salespeople. According to research, as much as 60% of a salesperson’s time is spent in front of people who either can’t buy or will never buy their products and services.
Many salespeople I’ve worked with over the years readily admit that they are not comfortable calling on decision-makers, particularly if they happen to be a C-level executive. Which begs the question, “How do you expect to have a successful sales strategy if you are not calling on the people authorized to buy your product or service?”
How to Sell to Decision-Makers, C-level or Otherwise
Do your homework. Who are the potential buyers for your product or service? How do they buy? What are their levels of authority? What criteria do they use to make buy or no-buy decisions? Who do they consult with on major purchases? The biggest complaint I hear from executives is that the salespeople who call on them are not prepared. Be the exception, not the rule.
Have a goal in mind. Whether it’s the first call or the final proposal presentation, have a desired outcome for each meeting and each stage of the sales cycle with the decision-maker and other key staff members.
Net it out! Have an agenda, be brief, cover the high points of your proposal and stay on topic. If they want the details, they will ask. Never, ever run over your allotted meeting time, unless the decision-maker wants to keep going.
Follow up. In order to cultivate the relationship, you have to stay the course, even if the decision-maker is not ready to buy. According to statistics, 80% of sales are made on the 5-12th contact.
Building relationships with individual decision-makers can be a limited sales strategy due to the high turnover rates in these positions. However, if you are not selling directly to the person who can sign the check, you’re selling yourself short.
Here are two quotes I refer to often when teaching the sales process to others:
If you’re not selling to the top, you’ll end up on the bottom.
If you are not uncomfortable, you’re not growing.
So, get uncomfortable! To learn more about selling to decision-makers, I would encourage you to read the following books:
Selling to VITO (The Very Important Top Officer) by Anthony Parinello.
Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey MacKay.
The New Power Base Selling by Jim Holden and Ryan Kubacki.
Selling to the C-Suite by Nicholas A.C. Read and Dr. Stephen J. Bistritz
Selling Above and Below the Line by William “Skip” Miller