“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan

The ‘Sagan Standard’ is generally meant for astronomy and other sciences, but it applies to selling, too. Here’s what I mean—if you want to close deals, you must back up, or offer proof, for everything you say. This is especially true with a particular group of executive buyers who are known as Skeptics.

Unlike Charismatic and Thinker personas, when you’re trying to sell to Skeptics, you typically hear the same response over and over—‘Prove it to me.’ So when you back up everything you claim—and provide extraordinary evidence—the magic happens.

The Top Four Characteristics of Skeptic Executives Are:

      1. Skeptics usually have strong personalities and are suspicious of everyone and everything. You must have credibility to sell to a Skeptic.
      2. They believe they know everything you plan to talk about before you enter the room—and they’re not seeking help.
      3. They make balanced decisions between internal and external viewpoints.
      4. They fear nothing and can be quite demanding.

According to our research, Skeptics make up 19 percent of executive buyers, so you need a good game plan going into your meeting.

Here Are Four Keys to Success when Dealing with Skeptics:

      1. Establish credibility early on in the process. Do what you say and say what you do—always.
      2. Stand firm, but look for middle ground. This is attainable if you have credibility.
      3. Keep your emotions and ego in check. Remember one of my favorite quotes from The Godfather: “It’s not personal; it’s business.”
      4. Go to the source of credibility. In other words, prove it. And prove it some more.

It’s easy to prepare for a Skeptics. While they make up only 19 percent of executive buyers, 48 percent of all sales presentations are geared toward this persona because it’s natural to go into a meeting with an ‘expect the worse’ frame of mind. The key here is to gain credibility before you walk through the door.

Make sure you check out next week’s blog when we discuss another buyer persona—the Follower.

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How to Sell to Executives Who Are Skeptics

How-To Series | August 15, 2017

How to Sell to Executives Who Are Skeptics