top of page

Authors Frank Cespedes and Tracy DeCicco bring us a look at the difference between selling to a lower level manager and a senior level manager. Each level has a different concern and a different objective in the sales process, and it is important to know who you are talking to.

The authors site research that shows at the C-Suite level you want to keep your discovery questions to around 4, with unsuccessful meetings having an average of 8 questions. This does not stay true when speaking with lower level managers, with those successful meetings coming in around 11-14 questions.

Understanding who your audience is is important, but almost equally important is understanding where you are in the sales cycle. In the earlier stage of a sale with Senior level management, it is important to demonstrate an understanding of their company's market and what strategic goals you will be able to help them with. At a later stage they are looking for how they will justify the decisions to the rest of their company.

Read the article here for further insights from the authors.

Do you have any thoughts on these topics? Please leave a comment below

The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!

The author sets out to help people with the way they can initiate and exit a conversation. This is extremely useful for those annoying industry events when you have to meet new people. Here are some of my favorite tips:

  • You must initiate the conversation. Get over your shyness. Introducing yourself is appreciated.

  • Avoid banal questions: Not, What do you do? Get more personal….how did you get started or join this company? Frame questions that show a real interest in the answer.

  • Don’t ask a child “how was school today” , ask about specific emotional responses to events.

  • Pay attention to body language.

  • If at a loss for a topic , the author suggests remembering FORM (Family/Occupation/Recreation and Miscellaneous). I personally recommend the Vacation question. (What have you done about vacation? .. it always works. )

  • Follow up on any next steps.

Please feel free to comment on any of these recommendations and suggest other sources that might be helpful.

This intriguing book looks at conversational speech as a set of patterns that can be analyzed and manipulated for better results. While I disagree with some of her findings (she is not a buyer of the impact of body language, nor does she believe in the value of role playing for training. I disagree! ) some of her points are worth noting:

  • Conversation is essentially turn-taking. Interrupting or responding out of sync will set your conversations in the wrong direction.

  • Rapport is essential (We knew that). So be sincere. Don’t jump into new conversations with “How are you?, but asking it later makes it more sincere.

  • She discusses that the processing of information occurs while the speaker is speaking. Agreed. But she views the pause in the response as a warning of a problem. I disagree. It depends on what the objective is and who the audience is. In sales, a salesperson pausing to answer the client’s inquiry is a ego boost for the client.

  • Um/Oh/So. These are used in speech differently. UM buys time/uncertainty. OH indicates awareness of new information. SO means a change of direction and a clear preference of what that person REALLY wants to talk about. Very interesting!

  • She discusses the shortfalls of body language. Agreed, there are nuances. But your body tells a ton of information. Don’t ever discount it.

  • The loose words ANY and ANYTHING elicits a negative response. Asking questions with ANY or Anything, e.g. “ Is anything wrong? “ leads to NO. Rephrase with SOME. You are likely to get a positive answer!

  • Direct questions make gives the person asking a sense of entitlement. Be careful in your questions. The fewer the better. Anticipate how the listener will respond.

Please feel free to comment on any of these recommendations and suggest other sources that might be helpful.

bottom of page