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Executive Engagement: What we can learn from The Magic Kingdom

September 27, 2013

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If you've ever been to Disney's Magic Kingdom, you were unknowingly taught a sales lesson on executive engagement. A lesson we can easily apply to the importance of knowing who you are selling to and making long sales cycles enjoyable.

My wife and I took our family to Disney's Magic Kingdom this week. It was our sons' (three of them, under the age of nine) first trip to see Mickey and the gang. We chose this time of year as we were told it is considered their "slow season."  Regardless, there were tens of thousands of people.  Wait times were significant, everywhere...especially for the rides.  Yes, we took advantage of the "Quick Pass" when we could, but my oldest son couldn't walk away from Space Mountain. He wanted to get in line.  

Disney’s Space Mountain

I had forgotten just how good Disney is at engagement. If you haven't been in a while, here's a quick reminder.

When you walk up to the entrance of Space Mountain, you can't see exactly how long the line is.  You can only see a digital sign telling you the wait time is 30 mins (a warning for a long sales cycle).  After you walk in the door you immediately start your slow journey navigating a labyrinth of angled tunnels and walkways, never able to see the end of the line. But here's the cool part.  

At ever turn of our wait, within every long hallway, we were engaged with an entertaining view of what it would be like to be in space. What it would feel like living outside our world view.  Disney was asking us thought provoking questions every step of the way.

The line to get on the ride was a well planned progression (read great account planning and sales call prep), warming us up and building excitement for what was around the next corner. So much so, that the 30 minute wait time felt like five minutes and by the time we could actually see the roller coaster...we were completely bought in (even my skiddish six year old that we had to coax in the front door). 

Just like our experience at Space Mountain, executives you are calling on need to feel like the investment in time will be worth it. The want to be pushed with new ideas catered to their personal interests.  C-suite decision makers want to be sold on something that will not disappoint.

It's not rocket science (pun intended). But with patience and the right executive intelligence, getting an executive's attention and buy-in can be easier than you think. We just have to invest in the progression like Disney.  

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Lee Demby

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Lee Demby