Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck
Many sales reps can enjoy higher levels of success by pitching to C-level executives.
These are the prominent decision-makers who have the power to give you the green light and implement new products or services for use in their respective companies. However, selling to the C-suite can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with top executives. So here’s what you need to know:
So how do you pitch to C-level executives?
While executive-level selling isn’t a different ballgame, some essential things must be remembered. Selling to the C-suite offers a considerable advantage: ensuring your pitch is heard without going through the usual gatekeepers and intermediaries who might block your meeting. On the other hand, this means you must tailor your pitch to a different type of audience.
The C-level executives are serious business people. While a vague pitch might sway a mid-level employee, C-level executives know the business’s strategy and goals intimately. If you come prepared and confident, this can work in your favor. You need an effective strategy.
When selling to the C-suite, keep these five tips in mind:
- First, don’t waste their time. Not only are C-level executives busy, but their time is costly. Your pitch needs to be well-researched and thoroughly tailored to the person you’re talking to, not a blanket template you tweak slightly before meeting your prospect. You won’t be taken seriously if you don’t show that you’ve done your homework.
- Know what they need. When selling to the C-suite, your time will be limited, and you never want to spend it asking background questions. During your research, you should be able to discover what they need and feel confident that your product or service will deliver it. Come prepared with this information rather than waiting to ask for specifics.
- Show your work. Any C-level executive wants to know that you value their time. So lead with what you know about their organization and what you discovered about their pain points during your research. Your pitch should be hyper-specific to this organization and the executive you’re talking to.
- Be direct. C-level executives are primarily concerned with how your product or service will improve their bottom line. So don’t bother beating around the bush or bogging them down with details. Selling to the C-suite should be about the big picture.
- Make it easy to say yes. Please don’t leave it up to the executive to determine the next move. Instead, give them a call to action that’s easy to implement. Following up is critical; although a persistent lack of response might indicate disinterest, C-level executives balance many competing time requirements. They might forget to follow through, so remind them.
Selling to c-level executives is just one of many ways to level up your sales. As a business coach, I’ve helped many leaders develop their selling and marketing strategies. Sign up for my mailing list to have my best tips delivered to your email inbox every week, free of charge.