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The Key to Selling Success: Filling a Vacuum for C-Level Executives...and Others,
This review is from: Selling to the C-Suite: What Every Executive Wants You to Know About Successfully Selling to the Top (Hardcover)
My good friend, Greg Van Ess, introduced me to "Selling to the C-Suite" to get my take, as a CEO, on the research and suggested approach to selling to C-level executives outlined by authors Nicholas Read and Stephen Bistriz. I gave Greg an interim assessment when I was only about one-third into the book - "this book is `spot on' regarding selling into the C-suite" but, Greg, this book's audience extends far beyond the author's target audience."
I have now finished the book and will be more specific, "Selling to the C-Suite" is a invaluable guide for salespeople...and for ALL executives, managers, and professionals "selling" up, down, and across organizations, and for job-seekers trying to land a new position.
Extensive research, statistics, case studies and anecdotes (FranklinCovey) show TRUST is a driving force in today's global economy. Read and Bistriz reinforce and tailor this for those selling into the C-suite with their independent, groundbreaking research conducted over ten years with C-suite leaders from 500 diverse companies and government bodies. A successful C-level relationship - open to products, services or ideas - is built around trust.
"Selling to the C-Suite" is organized around key research questions poised by the authors (think broadly by substituting employee, manager, job seeker, etc for salespeople and you will see what I gleaned about application):
* When do executives get involved in the buying process for major decisions?
* How do salespeople gain access to executives?
* How can salespeople establish credibility with executives?
* How can salespeople create value at the executive level?
* Is executive buying behavior consistent across cultures?
Key take-aways include 1) get involved with the decision process early when executives are actively involved, 2) target the relevant executive (not always obvious), 3) be prepared and understand the problems and opportunities the company is focused on, 4) use each and every opportunity to establish oneself as a knowledgeable, value-added `trusted advisor,' and always exhibit integrity through words and action.
CEOs are faced with a series of problems/opportunities to be solved/exploited ranging from product/service issues, financing, functional, to board, regulatory, and, just plain old human interactions. As I have told others, it is hard to relax. Once you have solved one problem or seized an opportunity, ten more show up. I have likened this to the time I climbed Mt. Lassen in northern California. Once on top, I saw many more mountains - each taller - to climb. There is little time to bask in success.
Those who understand this perspective readily understand a C-level executive's need to have `trusted advisors." Often, there is little time to deliberate on key decisions and the need for people you can trust - inside and out the organization - is paramount to finding a course of action. This is the pot of gold - the opportunity to assert oneself and establish credibility and competence.
"Nature is fascinated by talent, but it pays off on character" - John Gardner.