Thursday, February 4, 2010

Creating the Confidence Necessary to Win Over C-Level Executives

Confidence is what C-level decision-makers want to see in their selling partners. Yet, it's uncomfortable selling to influential leaders. Big egos come with big titles and these people can be intimidating. Therefore a salesperson's biggest asset is confidence. So how do you build that confidence? Today sales trainer Sam Manfer walks you through the process.

If you're confident you exude credibility. Confidence leads to believability and trust, and credibility, believability and trust, respect and results are key ingredients necessary for selling to powerful and C-level executives. However, do not confuse confidence with arrogance or boasting. Confidence is stealth and very pervasive.

The best way to become confident is to prepare. Here's how. Learn about the situation or the executives before the engagement. Ask anyone you can about the situation and executive for information. If you open your mind, you'll think of a lot of people who can help you. Ask yourself what you want to know. Then prepare questions to get this info. Prepare questions for your contacts and for the executive. Have questions to confirm information and to gather new information. Before meetings call the executive and other participates to learn their expectations of the upcoming meeting. These and other preparations will get you ready and instill a feeling of confidence.

Visualize a positive outcome. Most people are intimidated and feel uncomfortable visiting powerful people. This is called fear in one sense or another. Fear is just the visualization or projection of a negative outcome. Why do you lock your doors? You worry someone will steal your belongings or hurt you. Why do you slow-up when you see a police car? You fear getting a ticket. You're visualizing the worst.

The same is true when thinking about officers of a company involved in the decision making for your sale. This nervousness goes to rationalizations (I really don't need to meet with the top people) and/or uneasiness once you decide it is necessary. It is all negative projection - they don't want to meet with you, or others will block you or feel badly if you go to their bosses, or you worry the meeting will go badly and you'll lose the deal. This is all negative speculation.

You don't know how it will go. You don't know that you'll get robbed if you leave your car unlocked. You don't know if your meeting will go well or badly. However, when you think negatively, you lose confidence and come across as weak and ineffective.

Confident people feel comfortable asking pointed, penetrating questions - ones to learn the executive's real issues, threats and opportunities, and they get the information without interrogating. They feel comfortable following-up with more questions to clear ambiguities and to understand the deeper meaning of words and phrases - often buried issues. Most importantly, they posture themselves to listen intently. These actions make leaders feel confident about the individual so that they can project positively about the upcoming deal.

Since 1995 Sam Manfer has been speaking, consulting, writing and leading seminars in sales and personal development. As a keynote speaker and seminar leader Sam has addressed thousands of new and experienced sales people and managers all over the world in all types of businesses and industries. Learn more at

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

February 18, 2010 3:22 AM  

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