Everyone knows that “Those with the In, Win”. Sales people want to be connected at the top, but usually struggle. Sales managers to presidents wish their sales people could get connected and were schmoozing with the top executives.

So this five part series is intended to help you easily and ...Everyone knows that “Those with the In, Win”. Sales people want to be connected at the top, but usually struggle. Sales managers to presidents wish their sales people could get connected and were schmoozing with the top executives.

So this five part series is intended to help you easily and naturally sell at the executive level, and for more C-Suite Selling details, I will refer to specific articles at http://www.sammanfer.com.

Part IV - Credibility

Credibility is the door opener and sales closer. If you’ve got it, you’ll be able to get an executive appointment. Credibility means the person respects you, trusts you and believes that you will deliver his/her desired results. That means he’ll listen to you, and buy from you. And if your credibility with him is really strong, he’ll use you as a resource to protect and/or enhance his career.

There are two types of credibility - transferred credibility from others to you, and your own credibility. Transferred credibility is what someone in your network is going to pass on to you in order for a meeting or introduction to be set-up. This person you know has credibility with the exec and because of this trust, the executive will open his door to you on the recommendation of your network contact.

Your credibility is what you must have to keep the meeting going and to go beyond for the sale. In other words the transferred credibility can dissolve the second you open your mouth. Now if you are prepared and know how to interview an executive, your credibility will start building with every minute you’re together. But the big “ifs” are preparation and interviewing skills.

Most sales people easily develop credibility at lower levels. They meet an interested buyer and find out what this buyer wants. They then explain how the buyer’s goals can be realized by using their offering. However, those same sales people usually fail to advance forward to develop the same credibility at higher levels.

Establishing credibility at higher corporate levels is far more difficult because access is limited and the conversations are very different. Slip here with boring, annoying or no-impact selling approaches and you’ll (1) ruin any chance of credibility; (2) lose the opportunity of further access with this executive; and (3) eliminate the possibility of an executive relationship that could expedite first and follow-on sales.

The key to gaining credibility is to ask your network to refer you - transfer their credibility with the higher level people to you. They need to introduce you, and help you establish the executive’s respect. They will usually do it if you ask. However asking is the operative word here.

Once you’re there, in order to build on the transferred credibility that got you there, you’ll have to keep this busy executive’s attention. The best way is to talk about what’s important to him or her. This is how you will start establishing credibility. If you don’t know what’s important to him or her, don’t guess. Let him or her tell you. Lead with questions to find out how this person thinks and acts. Keep in mind that senior level people love to talk about themselves and hold back on their problems initially. Once they realize you understand them, they will start opening-up and may then listen to how you can help. This is where you will further enhance you’re credibility.

Many feel developing credibility takes time, but you can easily establish your own credibility on the first visit if you interview correctly. Besides, busy executives don’t give you a lot of time. But since they know you don’t know them, they are willing to tell you more on the first visit. You’ve got to score on your first visit. If you do interview correctly, you’ll learn a lot and be able to show how you can deliver the results the executive really wants. This is the chance you’ve been looking for. It’ll be your time to show you can fit to his or her desires better than any alternative. How you do this will be easy, and it’s the discussion of Part V.

For more details on questions to get the executive talking and how to handle issues see my Sales Calls and Investigative Selling Articles.

And now I invite you to learn more.

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Bonus Tip: FREE E-Book Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers. Just click this C-Level Relationship Selling Link Sam Manfer makes it easy for any sales person to be effective and feel comfortable connecting with and relationship selling C-Level leaders.