Economic Buyers: You’ve Got Their Attention, Now What?
You've identified the elusive economic buyer thanks to the tips in our previous article. Now that you’ve got their attention, how do you speak their language in order to close the deal? Let’s take a deeper dive into the intricacies of communicating and building rapport with the decision makers.
The insights in this article came from the recent SALESDOCk webinar “How to Sell to the C-Suite.” Many thanks to industry experts Jakub Hon, Bart Omlo, and James Winter for sharing their knowledge.
Pro tips for communicating with the economic buyer
When you're dealing with the economic buyer, it's essential to be seen as someone of the same stature, not just another salesperson. This requires an in-depth understanding of their preferences, challenges, and aspirations. By aligning your approach, offerings, and solutions to their unique needs, you not only establish a more meaningful rapport, but also position yourself as an invaluable partner truly invested in their success. This insight-driven approach enables you to articulate how your products or services can directly meet their objectives and cultivate a meaningful relationship as opposed to simply a transactional one.
-Steer clear of technical jargon and product-centric talk. Focus on strategy and actionable insights. Instead of talking about the product and its features, focus on the benefits and strategic advantages for the organization. Be relevant and direct, and try to get clarity on the budget up front. Knowing whether the economic buyer is prepared to make a significant financial commitment can help you to tailor your approach more effectively.
-Time management is crucial. Use your meeting time wisely because you likely won’t be rewarded with such an opportunity again. James underscores the importance of preparedness: "The more prepared you are, the calmer you'll be in the meeting... don't rush." Introduce personal elements preferably as a segue to a future conversation or meeting extension. In other words, do your business first.
-Keep your narrative business-centered, prioritizing the executive's strategic goals. Drill down on the specific challenges they face. Frame your dialogue around compelling case studies or scenarios that resonate with their interests. Maintain clarity and conciseness in your communication, focusing on business outcomes rather than product features. This cannot be said enough times.
-Use social proof. As Tony Parniello, bestselling author of Selling to VITO, writes, “It’s an indirect way of getting other people to realize that their situation is similar to that of other people you’ve worked with.” Bringing in someone else who matters to the talk can make the economic buyer more confident that you understand what they need and are a trustworthy potential partner. However, before using this option be sure to think it through carefully as there is always a potential for the talk to go sideways in such a case.
-A direct approach is essential, being mindfulness of possible cultural nuances of course. Encourage the economic buyer to be straightforward and reflect that same quality in your speech. Automatically volunteer to keep them updated throughout the sales process. This proactive engagement establishes you as an accountable and reliable partner, which leads us to our next segment.
Building rapport, credibility and trust with the economic buyer
The key to effective communication with an economic buyer is to immerse yourself in their world, proactively address their needs, and craft your approach accordingly. When executed well, this not only establishes you as a valuable partner but also builds a foundation of trust and loyalty that can significantly impact the outcome.
One of the most important pieces of prep work you can do is to do your homework. As Jakub puts it, "If there is information out there on the company, you should already know it." Being prepared is essential. He recommends taking a page from McKinsey & Company's playbook: they invest 40 hours preparing for a single meeting with an executive. This thorough preparation allows them to strike transformative deals. It’s a practice that all salespeople should follow.
Establishing credibility and trust with C-suite executives is non-negotiable. Position yourself as a valuable and reliable partner by showcasing your domain expertise and industry knowledge. This isn't just about making a good impression; it's about decreasing the perceived risks the economic buyer faces. Craft tailored value propositions that align closely with their strategic goals, reinforcing your credibility and enhancing trust.
Another important element to building lasting relationships with economic buyers is personalization. You're not just selling a product or service; you're providing a solution to their unique challenges. Speak their language and try to understand their pain points. And in the end, it’s not about just trying to push a sale. Bart believes in the importance of building connections before diving into sales pitches. He shared how he scans for opportunities: "I just reached out and said, ‘hey, I see you're at the same event and you like the same watches. Shall we have a coffee and talk about watches?’"
Navigating conversations with the economic buyer involves more than just a slick pitch; it demands a nuanced understanding of their priorities and how you stack up against the competition.
That being said, should you mention the competition in your presentations? James suggests focusing on what sets your company apart rather than naming competitors, as it might make their job easier in evaluating RFPs. Jakub, however, points out that when you have an internal champion, providing a comparative analysis can be beneficial. The champion can use this data during their presentation to demonstrate thorough research. So, the decision to mention competition should be context-specific.
As for understanding where your product fits into their priorities, always begin your conversation by asking about their top three objectives. If you find your solution is not their top priority, accept it but frame your offering in a way that encourages future engagement. Perhaps agree on a follow-up discussion at a certain stage. The goal is to align your product or service with their priorities effectively and appropriately.
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