Help them sell by learning how to sell to you

Written by: James White

I wanted to share an idea of how your sales team can get better at winning larger deals.

The answer to that is to get them feeling comfortable selling at a higher level.

There is a phrase I encourage all the sales teams I work with to think about when they are selling.

It is this:

Sell to people who create budgets, not those who have budgets.

When salespeople get comfortable selling to C-suite executives, decisions happen quicker and there are fewer obstacles in the way of the sale. Chief Executives and business leaders have the responsibility to solve problems and achieve big goals and create their own budgets to buy solutions that can help them do this.

Too often salespeople are too comfortable selling to those lower down the organisation, rather than being able to put themselves in the shoes of a CEO or business leader and find solutions to problems that these people have.

Salespeople tend to worry about having conversations with those with big titles or have an inferiority complex that they don’t know enough to speak to someone at that level. This is a self-taught incorrect behaviour and has to be changed if you want to get larger deals through in a shorter time period.

The single biggest tip I give to salespeople who are trying to sell to CEOs and senior executives is to think like that person. Your goal as a salesperson with any buyer should be to become a fly on the wall in their brain and be constantly thinking, “what is this other person thinking about right now?”

A CEO is highly likely not to be worried about all of the finer details of a solution and how something works, but they will be concerned about reputational risk, impact on staff productivity, cost of implementation and overall return, how the solution fits with priorities and other such points. Whilst salespeople aren’t CEO’s by spending some time trying to think like a CEO they stand a better chance to do business with a CEO.

As a CEO or business leader yourself, the best way to help your team to sell to people of this type is to share with them the types of concerns that go through your mind. What are the areas of business that are in your top 3 priorities and what makes them so critical? How do you spend your time trying to find solutions for these challenges? By helping your team understand the priorities, goals and challenges you face, they will be far better equipped to think like your equivalent as a prospective client and therefore have better sales conversations with those people.

It’s no guarantee that they will be a success as they still have to learn other skills to engage with executives (such as rapport building and providing strategic insight), but if they can start to develop a skill of thinking and putting themself into the shoes of the buyer, then they stand a far better chance at being successful.

Maybe after the Easter break, pull some of your sales team into a session and start sharing with them how you think and operate so you can give them some insight into having better conversations with the C-suite level.