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Manage your business 22 June 2021

Top tips on selling to the ‘crazy busy’ exec

How do you access the executive who’s so busy they have no time for you? The author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies gives her best advice.

Here’s a fact: super-busy people cannot give you more time. You may want more time; you may even have a very good argument why they should give you more time, but the reality is (even if you’re very lucky), you’ll get about five minutes.

So, how do you sell to someone in five minutes or less?

According to Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, step one is understanding that most executives today are expected to do more in shorter timeframes and with fewer resources.

“They’re under pressure,” says Konrath. “Add to that the fact that they’re probably overwhelmed by complexities and changing priorities, and you’ll begin to understand that in order to make a sale, you need to ease the burden, not add to it.”

Getting access

The real test to whether you’ve tailored your pitch correctly is access: will they let you in or not?

“Keep it simple. Get their attention now by limiting email attachments, and don’t send anything complex or hard to decipher,” says Konrath.

“Next, be invaluable. We’ve already discussed how your customers need you to be an expert. Knowing about your product or service is not being invaluable. Don’t just sell value, bring value. Remember, you’re being evaluated against everyone else, and you need them to not want to look elsewhere.”

Another good tip is to always be aligned with what the prospect is trying to achieve. “What are they doing, how and why? Also, don’t make them work to see how you’re aligned. Show them early and clearly. Sales pitches often leave the meat for the end—get it right up front instead. Show people why they should be paying attention to you.”

You are the differentiator, not your product or service. According to Konrath, 80% of the perception of an organisation is based on the person you are meeting with. The ball is in your court; now run with it.

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The SNAP method

Konrath has developed the SNAP method to help business owners and sales executives tailor their pitch to the busy exec.

  • S: Simple. Simple or complex? A person who is overwhelmed needs simplicity, and this is judged in a split second.
  • N: iNvaluable. People do not buy from you because you are nice. You need to be invaluable: give value, don’t waste valuable time.
  • A: Alignment. Is what you are selling aligned to their business? You need to let them understand where that alignment is immediately, not at the end of a pitch.
  • P: Priority. People can only handle one priority at a time. Always look for what is most important to them right now.

Making contact

Here’s how you can begin. First, ask yourself, what do executives need more of? “Generally, they need more time away from daily operations to think and strategise,” says Konrath. “If you help them achieve this, you’re already halfway to closing a deal.”

Next, ask How can I change what I am doing so that I can sell to crazy busy executives?

Before you even make contact, you should know the following:

  • Who is this person?
  • What does their day, week, month entail?
  • How many people demand time from them every day?
  • How many areas demand their attention?
  • What will make them pay attention?

If you want to get your foot in the door, you need to send them the right message that won’t be disregarded, ignored or, worse, deleted.