By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

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Eleanor Roosevelt has been quoted as saying: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” In the first few minutes of meeting executives, many sellers feel they must win them over, resulting in efforts that can appear forced to get buyers to like them.

My question: If you’ve ever tried to get someone to like you, how did it go?

When meeting peers, decisions about liking people evolve over time. Sellers may feel pressure because they have a finite time in the initial call to establish a relationship.

Executive buyers enjoy many advantages when dealing with sellers. They decide whether to meet, can end calls at any time and ultimately control the checkbook.

In my mind, competent sellers have two (2) major assets in their arsenals to level the playing field with executives:

  1. They are subject matter experts about their offerings, but at executive levels it is necessary to go beyond product knowledge. Superior sellers understand and can articulate title-specific business outcomes that can be achieved through the use of their offerings.

  2. They can help buyers establish and understand potential value (savings minus cost) to make it more likely that expenditures will ultimately be made.

Over time, being respected and being liked are not mutually exclusive. In an initial meeting I feel sellers would be better served to strive to earn executives’ respect.
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