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When it comes to landing large deals, building a relationship with the executive sponsor can make or break you. Everyone is busy and being pulled in 20 different directions. But that pales in comparison to an executive’s schedule. So how do you even get on the radar? And once you do, stay there? Here are three sure-fire ways to do just that.

First off, how do you get the initial foot in the door? I’ve found that many executives are more open to meetings and conversations before or after a sales cycle.

At the beginning stage, they want to know what problems could be fixed to support their goals or priorities. Conversations at this point are usually well received because they aren’t about sales. It’s about trying to get on the same page and understand the problems. Of course executives are also interested in how much it’s going to cost, but the dollars are not the sole determining factor. Discuss what they’re really concerned about — resources, investments, ROI, impact, change management — from the outset. Knowing the impact is the first step on the road to consideration.

After that, the executive is going to delegate the project and the sale to someone else. Going through the sales process, you may not have much contact. But in that early meeting, be sure to ask if it would be appropriate to contact them with updates. And they’ll tell you if they will rely on updates from their managers or if you can email a brief update at times. Don’t worry — they will definitely be forthright in what they want to hear and from whom.

The end of the sale offers a second window of opportunity for access. Share the results and the impact of the project. There’s also an opportunity to recognize the employees who have done a really good job implementing or executing on it. They might not get that kind of exposure any other way, and it gives executives an insight on their team they might not have otherwise.

Executives care, first and foremost, about their time. We’re all bound by the same number of hours in the day, but their time is very precious and limited. One of the executives I interviewed for my book The TOP Seller Advantage said it perfectly: “I am scheduled from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and barely have time for bathroom breaks. So to get some of my time, you have to add value.”

Value is not introducing yourself. It’s not talking about your products and services. And it’s not trying to sell them. Value is sharing something that they might not know. Executives want to know what other companies are doing that’s cutting edge. It could be you have customers in a similar industry, and can detail how you’ve helped them and the impact it made on their business. As I mentioned before, executives really love to know and recognize who is doing well in their organization. You can provide that insight from a personal, third-party experience.These insights are where you can add value.

This tip is pretty short and sweet, but it’s one of the most common observations I get from executives. They really appreciate it when you not only stay within your allotted time, but actually end the meeting early. It probably seems counterintuitive to a sales rep or manager because you want to squeeze in every last second with that executive. But in reality, that executive would probably love to have a few extra minutes before dashing to the next meeting. And you can give them that gift of time by pre-planning your engagement and effective time management within that plan.

Executives care, first and foremost, about their time.”

Lisa Magnuson | Founder and CEO, Top Line Sales
How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.
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