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⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️
Strategic selling is not reserved to only strategic account AEs. You cannot afford to be anything but strategic in today’s environment, whether you are in SMB, mid-market, enterprise, or strategic accounts. Today’s edition will help you to systemize a more strategic approach.
Read time: <7 minutes
Strategic selling is achievable in every deal
“Remember, all customers assume the first brand that educates them about the category must be the leader. So when you market the category, you are actually expanding the category’s potential, building your brand, and cementing your place as the Category Queen. That’s a win-win-win.” – The Category Pirates
A conversation I have often with sellers is around leveling up the ability to deliver a strong perspective and point of view in front of executives.
During my most prolific period of closing one 8 figure and nine 7 figure transformation deals between 2018-22, each of them had one thing in common – I had a distinct point of view on how the category (in my case, contact centers and customer experience) is rapidly changing and a bold idea that the brand should consider (because I knew them well as a loyal customer).
Once engaged with one of these Diamonds, the bold idea transitioned to “their idea,” using their language and assets. The C-Suite above the EVP level I was traditionally engaged with would be reviewing and approving an internally-written strategy document.
Guess what the majority of my time was spent on?
Yep – helping the Mobilizers at these marquee brands create those assets, strategically requesting large sums of investment – sometimes outside of traditional budget request windows.
I’ll get into that strategy more in future editions, and I’m excited to have Nate Nasralla on the next Make More Hustle Less Club Monday session (April 10th at 4pm EST) deconstructing exactly how to do it using executive narrative memos.
But first, you need to get the Mobilizer’s focus with something worthy of them investing their time, energy, and attention.
Let’s break down how to do it masterfully.
Are you selling, or inviting them into an exclusive club?
I had a great coaching session with Desmond recently, and we discussed leveling up his industry POV strategy.
I mentioned to him that when a strong perspective is delivered to the Mobilizer, it instantly turns the sales engagement into something different. There’s both curiosity and credibility that is forged when delivered correctly. It changes the “power dynamic” (btw, I despise that term, as it teleports me back to some early 2000’s cringeworthy sales tactics ripe with persuasion tactics and body language tricks), BUT it’s kind of true.
When I was a younger seller, I did what a lot sellers do that feels right – you ask them a bunch of questions probing for some kind of instant insight you could use to start driving them to where you want the conversation to go. 9/10 times it would lead to me rushing into talking about how great my product was or some cool customer story.
Hate to break it to you, but their instant sales radar goes up when you do that.
Now I still got pretty far from time to time, but that was more when I was persistent and tried to use my hard work, conviction, honesty, and fast responsiveness to win. It works, but it’s exhausting and the truth is, for most of the executives who signed the DocuSign, still viewed me as a seller, and they were on the other end of buying something.
That all changes massively when you come in with a strong BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) that makes them pause, think, and then start asking you questions. They start to sense that you have something that could really ignite their career or change their company.
It’s like you have a key to some VIP club that they should be a part of.
That’s a special place to hold, and something worth a lot of your time, effort, and respect in elevating your craft.
It starts with that first encounter…with the true Mobilizer.
How do you know it’s a true Mobilizer and not a false one (like a Climber)?
For one, it’s highly subtle, but you’ll “feel” a slightly different energy (if you know, you know). They’re a bit more quiet and thoughtful with their responses. There is definitely some sizing you up as you talk – you feel it, and even see it with some, when they scan you from head to toe and back up.
However, the tell-tale sign is that they will push back on your idea, not in a quick-to-squash-the-idea kind of way (when that happens, you’re too low in the org or with a tenured exec who wants to protect the status quo because they’re politically tied to it), but through highly strategic and intentional questions.
That’s a magical time.
The seed has been planted, and it’s time to make something special happen with them. Both you and the Mobilizer will grow and benefit, but more importantly, their company will be a much better brand to do business with.
That really does affect millions of their customers, now instantly turning this from a transaction into a personal mission, a transformation you can significantly nurture.
That’s special! You’ve got this!
How to attain this Jedi-like force
“Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.” – Tony Hsieh
Now let’s get real for a minute – this isn’t instant oatmeal. This isn’t something you can just read about or watch YouTube videos on. It takes practice in real life.
Sorry to disappoint.
But…it is attainable (believe me, I was a socially anxious introvert that suffered panic attacks). You’ll get there. It helps to have a coach (I mean, really really helps!).
Want proof a coach helps?
Back in 2018, I was already well on my way to holding strong executive-level conversations, as I had been an Enterprise AE at a late stage startup for just under 3 years. I was on a small team of two enterprise sellers, and my manager was the other one. Jake was an active-selling manager, so he gave me tons of freedom and autonomy. That truly helped me blossom into being capable at having these types of conversations.
But there was room for improvement once I graduated from enterprise to strategic accounts that year with an AI company. Whoa…I was now talking to Fortune 10 level brand executives!
After winning team MVP in my first year there (it was very hard), I was still not feeling fully confident. I was suffering from Imposter Syndrome big time, and my mindset coach, Amber, helped me move past it.
Experience is needed, but that doesn’t equally translate into age. I am thoroughly impressed with some highly talented young pros in the new generation of sellers who intentionally chose to enter sales as their career.
If that’s you, you may have strong conversational acumen or confidence from your experience of being on debate teams, coming from an entrepreneurial family, or having a successful speaker in your family, or some other environmental influence that shaped your ability to confidently hold conversations with anyone.
These are sellers I have my eye on (and if you’re a successful senior seller, and you see these gems – offer to mentor and guide them – you’ll be so glad you did)!
To sharpen your capability to command attention, try implementing this system:
1. Author a narrative article: Imagine if Fast Company, HBR, or The Wall Street Journal came to you and asked you to write an article about the transformation you’re capable of delivering to a large business – what would it say?
2. Specialized Knowledge: Listen, “riches are in the niches, bitches.” (source: unknown). What could you talk about in your sleep? What do you like reading about in your free time (business related)? Focus on getting so good that only you could talk about it, especially when you layer in what your company is capable of.
3. Evolve your perspective and your narrative: This world-changing perspective that you wrote for Inc. Magazine, use it as something you check in with every month or quarter. Update your views and how you would articulate it based on any new discoveries you made in your meetings and account wins and losses. Use it like Warren Buffet writes an annual letter to shareholders – something that guides your business view, acumen, and improves your narrative writing skills.
4. Treat everyone like a business decision-maker: You can learn something from every representative you talk to – from a customer support agent up to the C-Suite. Don’t treat anyone with disrespect and honor their contribution to your endeavor. Every insight you gather can help shape a more internally-focused perspective.
5. Satisfy the APT: Whether it’s a conversation over a glass of wine at one of your events, a first meeting in person, or any material you share, you need to make sure you satisfy the 3 components of Aristotle’s Persuasion Triangle
That’s a wrap – see you next time!
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
This combines the 7 Steps to 7 Figures system along with a membership to our Make More Hustle Less Club where we put the system in action as a community.
3 | Sponsorship opportunities
For any sales leaders or brands, to keep Be Focused. Live Great. free for the community, I will be offering sponsorships for this weekly newsletter. If you’re interested, email: email@example.com