Tips from Selling to C-Level Executives

Selling to C-Level executives is more art than science.  Those of us that have a “Black belt” in executive selling have learned what it takes to gain access to executives by being a source of value to them and to their business.  These best practices of executive selling are also very applicable to creative and differentiated job search.

I heard a story today about companies that would normally see six resumes for an open position that are now seeing sixty resumes.  Applying online and submitting a resume online is not going to set you apart from the masses.  Hiring companies are so time constrained and overwhelmed by applications, that your resume if read, will likely be only skimmed through.  Ok, so how do executive selling skills help here?  With so many resumes for each open position, only the “perfect fit” candidates are going to make it to an interview.  So, getting to that interview is a lot like gaining access to a C-Level executive in a sales campaign.  The hiring management has to see the potential business value of you coming to work there.  Same goes for selling to executives.  Executives meet with people that can solve their most pressing business problems.

The trick is to communicate to the potential employer how you can add value to their business.  Experienced sales folks will do this by listening and studying quarterly financial conference calls to gain a better understanding of what is top of mind for executives.  This technique happens to be a great way for a job seeker to set his/herself apart from the pack.  Before you apply for your next position, listen to the most recent earnings call for the target company.  Listen for tidbits of information that indicate major objectives/challenges for the executives.  When you submit your cover letter with your resume, touch on a couple of these major objectives/challenges and perhaps relate how you might add value to the company in that particular area.  I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this.

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