If you are wondering what drives a CEO’s decision to buy, I can guarantee you it is expectation, not price.

I should really be saying something like, “Why CEOs don’t buy anything.” That is the real tip.

You see, CEOs don’t buy — they only invest. In fact, that is what all companies do. They invest in outcomes, rather than buying “stuff.”

For the CEO, this means the investments they make are designed to deliver one thing — an outcome (an expectation that their company will benefit from whatever it is you are selling).

It is really a very simple concept; however, there is still another component to it.

CEOs make their investment decisions based on their strategies, and this means the timeframe under which they work is many times far longer than the salesperson’s time frame.

The time frame is not necessarily the time it takes for them to make a decision. Typically, CEOs make decisions far faster than any other person in a company.  Rather, the time frame they work under is the time frame when they expect to receive the benefit. I like to think that CEOs do not live in today’s world, but rather they live in the world they expect their company to be in.

This might a be a time period of 1, 3, 5 or even 10 years from now.  When we in sales begin to accept the reality of the world in which the CEO lives, we can’t help but be in a better position to sell to that CEO.

Price will always be secondary to the CEO.

They understand this because they don’t buy anything. They only invest in expectations and outcomes.   Again, for those of us in sales, this provides us with a huge opportunity to maximize our price when we know how to target our sales process to the CEO.

If you are using the same selling skills and strategy with CEOs that you use with purchasing departments or other lower-level personnel, there is no way you will ever succeed with both groups.

The sales strategy you use for the CEO needs to be 100% focused on the investment/benefit outcome they will receive within the time period they are working.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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