Tiffany Lyman Otten joined me last month to share her good and bad buying experiences. And yes, she brought it! Tiffany is the Head of Marketing for The Future of Protein, an un-agency owner specializing in fractional marketing leadership and execution for startups and complex organizations.
I asked Tiffany what she considers essential when selling to a C-level executive and what frustrates buyers the most. Again, she brought it!
Before my agency world, I was in sales. And I was selling marketing material or marketing technologies and advertising. So I had to know what my buyers wanted if I was going to be successful, and that's what bit the consulting bug for me.
So looking at both sides of this:
There's an old saying that you could have a hundred CEOs in the room. And if you give them a logical argument and say, if you spend one dollar now, I'll give you a hundred in a month. Everyone's hands should go up. It's a hundred percent guaranteed.
Why doesn't it? Because pure logic is not the only thing in the buying cycle.
So if your ability to sell was the number one thing, that should happen, but it doesn't.
And often, you accept a no because sometimes a "no" will save you time to talk to the right person. But beyond that, find out what's important to me, the buyer.
And make sure that the first sentence says something relevant to me.
I need to know that this will not make me look stupid to my clients from that perspective.
But then also, sitting in house or as the leadership of that, I know it will do the job. I have numbers I am beholden to. I have objectives that need to get done.
So minimize my risk, and I'll consider raising my hands.
Especially in the economy of the past five years. That has to be paramount. So yes, reducing the perceived risk, and they have to understand what that is.
And what's the best way for them to understand?
- Is it by asking questions?
- Is it by doing research?
Definitely a combination.
What frustrates me the most
One thing that frustrates me the most is if I get a well-thought-out and clear email. And the agency owner cares about this. But there was nothing personal about it. It was immediately copy pasted.
And I know there is a need for some standardization in automation. But really, there should also be some level of customization in the emails to show me that I matter. The higher up you get, in terms of the title, and the person you're talking to –the more customized your message needs to be.
Another thing that frustrates me is when I feel my time is deeply disrespected. And I’ve immediately written the seller off. I don't even care what they have to sell.
Knowing I will be listened to and that my client's needs are heard actually trumps the entire technology platform. Because quite often, there's so much parity between these different possible options that will make it more critical.
So the frustrating part is not understanding how your capabilities would help me achieve what I'm looking to achieve. And does it do what you say it's going to do?
Sometimes these sales reps say what they have to tell you about all the features. And they know it all. Then explain that it should work. So you buy it, install it, and find out it does not solve the problem. That is terrible.
I do reference sites like G2 and a few others to see if that's happened before because those are red flags. After all, one or two of those is enough to make me turn my head.