Executive Reluctance: Five Tips for Overcoming Fear and Making
By Sam Manfer
through you when your boss or your inner-self says you’ve got to get
to the top decision maker for this deal, contract, renewal or sale?
It’s probably not great. However,
the executive suite is where you have to be to increase you chances of
people quickly boast that they can get to or have “no problem”
meeting with the top executives of their prospects or customers.
However, when I ask, “What does that leader want from you?” they
scramble for an answer. Now if they knew that, it would be great,
there is no problem getting and meeting these key decision makers, why
don’t more sales people do it?
That’s why. Yet, it’s natural. We fear people in authority
positions – those with power over us. Think of your boss or judges
or police or customers. They all put you on guard. As you get to know
them, it’s less stressful, but the tension is always there.
It’s a hassle
to get to these senior decision makers. They are protected from
anyone getting to see them, including their own subordinates (who are
There is a
concern of upsetting the manager, engineer or purchasing person
you’re presently meeting. Many buyers give that impression and
the rest of the time you assume it to be true.
Add to above past
rejections and you begin to act as your own gatekeeper saying
(consciously or unconsciously), “Let’s stick with the purchasing
people collecting the bid information.”
what you hear or how you spin it, the big dog makes final decisions
for your sales. He is
briefed before the purchase because he needs critical information and
guarantees before he gives his approval.
If he’s happy with your proposal, you get the contract. So
who better than you to deliver your message? Here
are 5 tips to help you overcome the anxiety and make it easier to push
feel uneasy. Then you can deal with it. Otherwise you will
subconsciously avoid the challenge and stick with your
rationalizations (i.e. “He’s too busy” or “She doesn’t
see sales people”). Ask yourself, “Why am I anxious?” Maybe
it’s past associations or a fear of rejection. There’s
something going on. So keep asking until you find an answer.
Eventually you’ll realize you’re projecting a negative outcome
– that something bad will happen. The antidote is to accept that
you don't know the future or what others are thinking. You won’t
Visualize the Outcome. The most common technique among all
professional golfers is to visualize their shot before they hit.
With this positive outcome programmed, their muscles and mind
compute the biomechanics to make it happen. Try it. It’s easy
but it takes effort to do it.
See, positive projection takes more energy than negative
is tougher to think prosperously than subsistence. Consequently we
default to the easier path - limiting and worst case thinking. It
requires mental effort to turn negative projections around.
However, if your projections gravitate towards getting nowhere,
you'll get nowhere - guaranteed.
better way to think. “The meeting will go great. He’ll want to
introduce me to others because he’ll feel good about me and my
message." Before you
make any calls, project in your mind that your target will be happy
and open to talk with you. Project positive and positive outcomes will
start happening. Even if things don't work out, you’ll understand
the reasons and take comfort that it wasn’t about you. This is
rewarding feedback to yourself and will encourage you to think
positively the next time.
Your Introduction. What will you say?
"Hi, my name is Sam and I work with companies such as
yours creating sales and improving the productivity of sales
teams. Would you answer a few questions?" or for another
situation, “John, I understand you are investigating hiring a
sales consultant, what are the issues that are causing you to
think of hiring someone from the outside?”
know what you’ll say, it helps you visualize the situation in a
positive frame. Your focus is on you and your opening rather than the
anxiety of wishing the encounter was over or didn’t have to happen.
Confidence by Preparing. Get information about the executive
and the company. Talk with people who know the executive and the
company. Use your ‘Golden Network’ – those people with whom
you have credibility. Talk with people in your company and urge
them to help you prepare for the meeting or for an effective
approach to get credibility. Remember it is OK to ask for help.
The more you prepare, the more confident you’ll be.
the Holier than Thou Syndrome. Realize this person is human
just like you. You both get up and get dressed and go to work each
day. You both have jobs to do. You’re both busy, value your time
and don't want to waste it. Neither
wants to be sold. You both want resources to help you with
problems. So disregard the “level to level”, “better than
you” thinking. Think
of how you would you like to be approached and the type of
conversation you’d like to have with someone in your position.
Chances are you’re similar, but be careful with assuming. Let
him or her tell you that.
mentally tough to set-up meeting with senior executives. However,
without their information, you are relying on others to tell you
what’s happening with your proposals.
Subordinates don’t want to push their bosses so they ignore
you by not returning your calls, or feed you crumbs so you don’t
feel badly for all your efforts.
line your sale’s decision lies in the executive suite. So set your
sights for the top. Get
your network to make the introduction for you. Prepare for the meeting
and you’ll have a wonderful experience – guaranteed.
Read other articles and learn more
about Sam Manfer.
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