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How to Communicate with Decision-Makers

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Author: Salvatore Corradi – FM Chairman

For companies dealing with enterprise customers or B2B companies, it is important to engage the decision-makers who influence the buying decision. However, those who belong to the C-Suite will be your toughest customers, and most salespeople simply don’t know how to engage them in a peer-to-peer conversation.

A 2012 Harvard Business Review article reported that more than 90% of Executives acknowledged they hardly ever respond to cold calls or e-mail blasts. Despite this discouraging fact, do not lose hope of connecting and engaging C-Level executives.

But, what does it take to capture and keep the attention of today’s crazy-busy executives?

Regardless of your business positioning, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to speak with an individual from the upper echelons with whom you have never had the opportunity to do business, by telephone or in person without first establishing a correspondence relationship. When the first approach is via email, it is essential to respect the etiquette of electronic communication (also known as “e-mail netiquette”). Basically, you need to find the right balance between formal register and slightly more relaxed tone, all combined with the clarity of the contents.

In case you succeed in getting a meeting, don’t make the mistake of deceive yourself: don’t rest assured that they will certainly ask for your products, solutions or services. The right approach is to consider this meeting as a potential opportunity, nothing more.

In general, there are some small tips that can be useful to prepare you to face a “giant” of the C-Suite: draw up some key topics, some priorities that you absolutely want to share with the manager, this is because you must be prepared for the fact that the executive may devote a very limited amount of time. During the exhibition use the proper language and do not forget to mention evidence-based data if you have it.

Obviously these are just generally applicable tips, keep in mind that decision-makers are people and as such they have a character, a personality and reactions that are difficult to predict. Each situation is unique, the important thing is that you are sure of what you are proposing, if you are professional and if your services are valid and competitive you can sleep soundly. Receiving a sharp “no” is not always considered a failure