Account Based Selling: 5 Words to Earn Executive Access
Keeping the attention of busy executives at the accounts you are trying to sell to is difficult. Extremely difficult. Perhaps you can get an initial conversation based on an introduction, curiosity, or a great marketing campaign, but unless there is a compelling reason for them to need your product or service right this very moment, the conversation can quickly die out. Even if there is a compelling challenge that your solution can help with, timing will often be the determining factor.
The art of account-based selling is to be able to keep in touch, build relationships, generate support, and find the ideal moment when the account will be most ready to purchase. However, the “always be closing” mindset of many salespeople means that they push for the deal at every encounter. If the deal is not ready to move forward, this aggressive approach will quickly alienate the executive and close off any future chance of making the deal happen.
Account Based Selling: Beyond the Sale
A much better strategy is to broaden your lens on the things you can help with, beyond just your product or service. Finding an opportunity to say “I can help with that” gives you an immediate opportunity to stay in touch, and a chance to build the trust of the executive. Your network is your most valuable resource here, whether they are looking for a connection to someone with a certain skill, a job candidate, or an unrelated service provider. Each topic that comes up, regardless of how related it seems, is an opportunity to look for a chance to assist. It can be related to the project at hand, their company in general, their own career, or even things outside of work. Any chance to help is a golden opportunity.
This is more than just the good listening skills that are commonly highlighted amongst sales teams, as those listening skills are often focused on the discussions that pertain directly to the thing your product or service can solve. To succeed at account-based sales, you need to go broader than that.
The Difficulty of Retaining Executive Attention
Keeping in touch with a busy exec for many months means you need to be someone who offers value beyond the narrow reach of your solution. The questions you ask about them and their business should be tuned to finding opportunities to use those 5 magical words “I can help with that”, rather than finding opportunities to shift into pitch mode and talk about your offerings.
Just saying “I can help with that” is only the start, obviously. To make it true, you need to have maintained the type of broad and diverse network that will let you make a connection of mutual value between the executive and someone you know. This is not something you can create over night. Done well, your network is the key differentiator between you and your competition. In account based selling, trust is the most crucial thing to build. Building trust starts with just 5 words; “I can help with that”.