If You’re Selling to Executives, Talk Their Language
It isn’t the prospect’s job to understand what you mean when you talk to them. It isn’t their job to care about it either. A lot of people seem to forget that when selling to executives.
It’s your job to talk about things executives really care about and to make sure they fully understand what you’re saying. The same applies when you write to them in an email, a LinkedIn message or a proposal.
Prospects are people. And people don’t listen very carefully. They drift off, turn off while they wait their turn to speak, misunderstand things, jump to the wrong conclusion. They don’t read very carefully either. The miss sentences, skip paragraphs, get things wrong.
YOU know what you mean. But that doesn’t matter. If they don’t know they won’t bother to work hard to find out. They’ll just move on. It’s your responsibility to make sure they understand and that they care.
How can you do this when selling to executives?
- Speak and write clearly.
- Use simple words.
- Don’t use your own jargon. But you can use theirs. If you’re talking to a CEO you can talk about EBITDA, NPV, ROA and they’ll lap it up. But if you talk in your own terminology they’ll think WTF and forget you – or send you elsewhere.
You get delegated to the people you sound like. If you sound like a techo you’ll be sent to IT or engineering. If you sound like a salesperson you’ll be sent to procurement.
If you want to be taken seriously in the C-Suite you need to sound like one of them. You need to be confident and act like a peer. But more importantly you need to talk about their issues in the context of their role, in their industry, in their language. Ask yourself “what does this person really care about”, chose your words carefully – and make them their words, not yours.