I recently read Dean Minuto's, The One-Page Sales Coach. It's a great read and should be on the bookshelf of any CEO who needs to sell but doen't necessarily think of themselves as being a traditional sales person. I connected with Dean recently and asked him to share some sales tips that are particularly relevant to CEOs. Here they are:
Not every CEO is a "born salesman or saleswoman". But every CEO needs to be able to influence and to persuade. In fact, recent research indicates that regardless of their title, American employees spend almost half of their work hours trying to do just that. Who do you need a "yes" from in the coming month or quarter? Would you like to get to "yes" faster and more often? Here's my six point checklist to guide you:
1. Make a Difference
- Explain to your "target" what will be different in their world after they say "yes" to you. Make it clear why choosing you will produce a different result than doing nothing. (In 90 percent of cases the choice isn't between you and a competitor, it is a choice between you and the status quo.) As I say in my book, "Success in selling is not about making a commission; Success in selling is about making a difference."
2. Make it Simple
- Make your message so simple that my 14-year-old daughter would understand it. Better yet, make it so she would say, "Cool! Tell me more." You should also be able to convey your message in one minute or less. Remember the ancient wisdom, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Tell your story with an illustration, cocktail napkin diagram, or at the whiteboard. It makes a difference.
3. Make it Believable
- Your belief in the outcomes you describe can be felt--selling has been defined as "a transfer of emotion". Make sure you are absolutely positive in what you are presenting. In transferring your belief, it also helps to show examples and share case studies of those companies who have been successful in the past by being customers of yours.
4. Make it Attractive
- As a CEO, you need to help your buyer see that your offer has lower risk and is easier to implement. For this reason, you are always looking for commitments and motion. As such, you should for ask for small commitments to get the person moving. Remember, a thing in motion tends to stay in motion.
5. Make it Personal
- How quickly can you demonstrate the "What's In It For Me?" The measure of the personal value will come in the form of time, money and risk. You have to connect what you are offering to how they are measuring one or more of those three things
6. Make it Happen
- As Dr. Stephen Covey advised, "Start with the end in mind." Have a clear goal for next steps with the person you are working with. Identify the obstacles that person will face before committing to those next steps and then work to remove them.
These six simple steps can turn you into a more effective communicator and persuader as a CEO even if you have not spent your life developing sales skills.