It's uncomfortable selling to C-levels and influential leaders. They are hard to get-to and they are intimidating to talk with. They have an air of superiority and power. The only way to handle these C-levels and top executives is with confidence.

Confidence is a sales person’s biggest asset. It enables a sales person to feel s/he belongs with top decision makers. Confidence enables a sales person to ask penetrating questions to everyone s/he meets, and confidence enables a sales person to ask for what s/he wants.

Let’s start with asking for what you want. A confident person can easily say, “Before I quote you a price, or answer your RFP, or give a presentation, I’ll have to speak with the other decision makers, especially the top ones, to understand what their expectations are for the price, RFP, or presentation. Will you set-up these meeting/calls for me?” This is confidence.

Let’s now talk about asking C-levels penetrating questions. A confident person can say, “What are your issues and concern’s with your current situation or this investment?” “What do you like about your current supplier?” “What are your dislikes?” “How do you feel about what I just described to you?” “Can I have your commitment right now?” “It’s seems you have concerns committing to me. What are they?” This is confidence.

Let’s talk about getting to C-levels and other top executives. A confident person will feel s/he must get to the top people to assure the sale. A confident person will ask others to network her/him to their bosses.

Confidence exudes believability. Confidence encourages others to take the actions you want them to take. Therefore, based on the above, it’s very advantageous to be confident.

Confidence comes from knowledge and knowledge comes from preparation. The more you know about your products and services, the more confident you’ll feel explaining them. Unfortunately this can lead to pushing people. You’ll feel you know more than the buyer and you tend to push it. Most C-levels don’t like to be pushed. Therefore, be careful with product knowledge.

The more you know about selling, however, that is, interviewing, developing credibility, and closing the more confident you’ll feel about getting to the top people, asking penetrating questions, and stating your expectations.

So here are some tips to gain the confidence required to sell to C-levels.

1. Before your next meeting, speak with someone who knows your target person to find out problems or issues s/he is facing as it relates to what your solution has to offer. Determine:
a. Why would this person want to see me?
b. What do I know about this person?
c. What don’t I know that I need to know before I can present anything?
d. What’s my opening question of substance going to be to get him/her talking?
e. How will I reframe from pushing and focus on listening?

2. Research to prepare for your presentations. Make sure you know what this C-level wants to hear about. Then gather data, (names, details and numbers) to explain your capabilities. For example s/he wants technician available for support. You say, “We have 12 trained technicians on call Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m.– 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.” Rather than saying, “We have many technicians, always available.” Research gets sales people psyched. Specifics make your presentation believable.

3. Be prepared to prove anything you say or present. Imagine the person says, “Prove that you have 12 technicians.” What would you do? Possibly have a list of names or resumes. If you’re prepared to prove, you’ll be confident, passionate and believable. If you don’t do this “prove-it” preparation, you’ll come off as weak and ineffectual.

4. Project positively. Visualize this meeting as being everything you’d hope for. What’s your perfect outcome? Write it down. What do you have to do to get it? Write it down. The more you positively project, the more confident you’ll become.

5. Writing your desired outcomes out makes them happen. It becomes your GPS. Thinking them out cause memory lapses, doubt and lack of confidence.

Bottom line: prepare and go forth with confidence. You’ll be amazed how good it feels and how many deals you’ll win.

Author's Bio: 

Sam Manfer is the leading expert on selling to CEO’s and other influential people – doctors, gov’t officials, etc. Sam is a sales strategist, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, The Complete Guide to C-Level Selling. That is, getting to and influencing top level decision-makers. Sam makes it easy for any sales person to generate quality leads, and become a 70% closer. Grab your FREE E-Books, Videos, Articles and other Advanced Sales Training Tips at

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