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Three Tips for Conquering Fear in the C-Suite

Sharon Gillenwater

If you get butterflies heading into a meeting with a CXO, you are not alone.

Fear is a common reaction to C-suite sales calls. The most oft-cited cause? Lack of confidence.

"Our sales reps say they don't know what to talk about in these situations," one sales leader told us. "They know they are expected to have a 'business conversation' but some of them aren't really sure what that means."

The outlook is not good for salespeople who avoid the C-suite. IDC predicts that by 2016, 80% of IT buying decisions will be made at the executive level. Yet only only 10% of contacts in CRM systems are for senior executives.

To succeed, C-suite avoiders need to move out of their comfort zone.

Here are three tips to make you feel more confident calling on senior executives.

1. Do your homework. The more knowledgeable you are about your customer, the more confident you will feel. Know their company, their business focus and their challenges. You can gather this information through recent interviews, conference call transcripts and by talking to their direct reports.

2. Connect the dots. Show you have done your homework by making a direct connection between one of their business initiatives and your solution. Share a simple vision for how your company could help them achieve one or more of their goals.

3. Prove experience and credibility. Cite another customer you have helped in a similar way. Demonstrate how they were able to monetize the investment through savings or revenue impact.

And always remember, they don't want to have a bad meeting any more than you do--they want you to be good!

For more info on C-suite selling, see the following blog posts:

Nailing the First 5 Minutes of a Business Conversation

How to Have a Business Conversation

Boardroom Insiders CXO profiles are perfect for sales call prep.

Want to learn more? View some of our executive profiles today!

Executive Profiles by Boardroom Insiders


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Sharon Gillenwater
Written by Sharon Gillenwater
Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.
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