Does Your Sales Team Avoid the Top C-Suite Sales Mistakes?
Most business sales training workshops teach sales reps how critical it is to uncover both known and unknown customer needs in the sales process. Why? Because before you can offer meaningful solutions, you have to know the type and scope of the issues your customer faces.
And, once you’ve done your pre-call sales planning and research, the best way to understand what matters most to your customer is through proven sales discovery questions. In some situations, however, the process of sales discovery is counterproductive.
Recent Executive Selling Research
Recent sales data analysis by Gong reveals that there is a danger in asking too many questions – especially of a higher level buyer. In analyzing nearly 40,000 deals, Gong found that discovery questions actually decreased sales success. The evidence showed that, instead of increasing win rates, asking discovery questions did just the opposite.
It seems there are two major factors that account for this surprising result.
The Top Two C-Suite Sales Mistakes to Avoid
To take advantage of the research results and raise your executive selling ability, here are two mistakes to avoid and what to do instead:
- Mistake #1: Asking Too Many Questions
You will quickly alienate senior level buyers by asking too many questions – especially questions that are about you and not about your customer. Lower-level buyers are not as easily offended and can be a good source of information that will better prepare you for a meaningful conversation with a senior decision maker especially at a mid- to large-sized organization.
Even lower level buyers don’t want to waste time. Do your homework. Glean as much background as you can before your meeting. Ask effective sales questions that show you’re not starting from scratch. Above all else, be ready to add value, provide insight, and be laser-focused on helping them and their company succeed.
- Mistake #2: Asking the Wrong Level Buyer
Executives have little time to waste. You will notice that the more questions you ask, the briefer their responses and the more irritated they get. It’s a form of question fatigue.
What’s happening here? Think about it. Most of the questions you ask a C-Suite buyer are designed to benefit you, the salesperson, not the buyer. You are asking the buyer to educate you. This is not the customer-centric approach required to work with executive buyers.
Too many questions – especially questions that are hackneyed — wear out the buyer and erode their trust in you, decrease your credibility, and harm the relationship.
C-Suite buyers are looking to you for insights. What can you tell them about threats they are not aware of or opportunities they may have missed? Don’t look to gather information from them but to bring real value – at least for starters.
Once you get the conversation going, then you can ask relevant questions that fill in the picture of how you can provide meaningful solutions.
The Bottom Line
C-Suite buyers have a different perspective than their lower level counterparts. In general, the higher you go, the less patience buyers will have with amateur sales approaches. Are you focusing on what value you can bring to them? If not, you need to revamp your executive selling approach to earn their respect and engagement.
To learn more about C-Suite selling, download 5 Field Tested Tips to Better Sell to the C-Suite