Do you want to build relationships with prospect executives?
If you do, you first need to understand why and when senior executives get involved in purchasing decisions.
Researchers interviewed executives ranging from vice president to chairman of the board (excluding purchasing agents and managers). Eighty percent said they become involved in key purchase decisions early to:
Understand how the proposed purchase relates to current business issues
Set overall project strategy
As projects move into the evaluation phase, the executives said they typically reduce their involvement, delegating decisions to subordinates or committees. They may become involved again later in the project to plan implementation or to supervise the measurement of results.
From this, we can conclude that senior executives are most likely to meet with salespeople early in the sales cycle, but only when such a meeting will provide valuable business information that goes beyond product features.
If you meet with executives late in the sales cycle, the impact of your meeting will be reduced because executives will already be looking ahead to implementation. They may also be reluctant to rule against the recommendations of internal groups, especially when a purchase decision has already been made.
If you want to establish a relationship with a senior executive, seek to meet early in the sales cycle. And because executives expect valuable information in return for their time, be sure you completely understand your products, industry, and customer’s needs before you meet.
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