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Many sales professionals have no idea how to talk to a C-Level executive. In fact, many won’t even attempt to set an appointment with a CEO. C-Level executives are just like everyone else; you must meet their emotional needs before they are going to want to do business with you. People buy for emotional reasons and justify with logic. Understanding how to communicate with someone in a way that meets his or her emotional needs, in that moment, is key to closing any sale.
As I was writing this article, I looked over at my 11 year old German Shepherd, his personality and emotional needs are very similar to CEO’s I’ve met during my career. He needs a great deal of mental stimulation, he is loyal and he is very protective of his family. What a perfect way to describe the four different types of C-Level executives; from the perspective of their dog counterpart.
1. Golden Retriever — They can’t wait to please you and make you happy. They are warm and friendly. Everyone loves a golden retriever. They want to be loved and give love. The same holds true for their C-Level counterpart, they want to know how they can help their employees, their company and their community. Their main goal is to connect with people and add value.
How can you quickly recognize this C-Level leader?
2. Pit Bull – Some people love pit bulls and some people hate them. But if you understand how they want to be treated, they can be the most loyal pet you’ve ever had. A pit bull is looking for an alpha. They will constantly test you, making sure you’re not going to abandon them. They may growl, even snap when you first meet them, to see how you will react. You must show them confidence and strength because in order to win them over they must respect you. They have to believe that what you say you’re going to do for them is true.
3. German Shepherd – They are loyal, protectors who take care of their families. They are highly intelligent and need a lot of mental stimulation. They can be intimidating when you first meet them, but if you have good intent they will quickly warm to you. They can seem aloof but it’s nothing personal, they just don’t need a great deal of attention. They will let you know exactly what they need.
How can you quickly recognize this C-Level leader?
4. Giant Poodle – When you first meet a giant poodle they may seem aloof. They aren’t really interested in you, until you show interest in them. They don’t need your love and attention they believe they deserve it. If you don’t show them the proper respect they feel they deserve, they will walk away and find someone else worthy. They like to be showed off and praised. They tend to shine in the spotlight.
To communicate with someone the way they want to communicate and meeting their emotional communication needs is the fastest way to a sale.
To learn more about selling to C-Level check out NASP’s ProSeries Program Catalog for the program titled The Secret to Selling to C-Level.
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.