Uncomplicate – How to make sales pitches to CXOs
Uncomplicate by Freshworks brings you crisp and insightful videos which will focus on answering one tactical question around sales & marketing, support & collaboration, employee engagement, and growth.
You’ve done some research, you’ve deduced something about a CXO or his company, and you have a great sales pitch in hand. All you need is an audience with the CXO so you can tell him how your solution will fix his problems. But, you hit a roadblock: the CXO has an executive assistant who is coming in the way of your meeting the CXO. How do you handle this?
We spoke to Steve Hall, an executive sales coach, to find out how he manages such gatekeepers and learn how to get past such a gatekeeper and sell directly to a CXO.
Here’s what we learnt:
Set your objective right
The most important thing to note in situations like this is that the objective is to get a meeting with the C-level executive, and not to make the sales pitch.
“Your objective is to get a meeting. You can’t sell to someone on a cold call, especially a C-level executive. You have to set your objectives, and your first objective is to get that meeting,” Steve pointed out.
But how do you get that message through when everybody else wants a meeting too? Why should they meet with you rather than one of the thousands of other people that want to meet them?
Turn the gatekeeper into a gate opener
“A lot of people look at executive assistants as an obstacle that stops them from getting through to the CXO, but I look at them as a tour guard, someone who can help,” Steve said. “And I have a simple tactic that works really really well, assuming you have a reasonable messaging, assuming you have a message is one they would want to hear.”
Steve suggests that you call the executive assistant and let them know what you need the meeting for, and follow up periodically.
“I call and ask the executive assistant, and I say ‘hi, I want to schedule a meeting with your executive, what’s the best way to do that?’, and they’ll say one of two things – ‘what is it about or does he know you,’ and you say ‘no, no, it is about helping them do X. Would it help you if I were to send you more information?’ and they always say yes because they want to get rid of you,” Steve said.
This gives you the opportunity to send the person an email and let them know how you can be of use to them.
It is important here to ensure that your message is relevant to them, and is something they care about.
You should then follow the email up with another call to the executive assistant, and find out if they received the email and also find out when the executive would be able to read the email.
“They’ll say not for a few days or a week, and you say I know you’re busy but I’ll give you call back in a weeks time,” Steve said.
“Now what that does is, it reinforces you in their mind, it shows your respect of the executive’s time…you’re pretty certain they’re going to get the email and read the email, and if the email is something the executive cares about, they’re going to either show it to the executive or make a decision on the executive’s behalf to give you a meeting.”
This simple, basic tactic works well over 50% of the time, Steve said, adding that this has helped him get meetings with government ministers, with CEOs of billion dollar companies.
“But you’ve got to think about what your message is. The message has got to be simple; it has got to be something that talks about them and their issues, not what you do. The moment you say the way we do it is this or we have a company that does that, you lose them, because they don’t care about you. You want them to think ‘this guy, maybe he can help. I should at least explore it further.’
So keep it simple, keep it relevant, and get the executive assistant as your gate opener rather than your gatekeeper.
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