We all know hard-charging executives who make every decision and are in control of everything that goes on within the company. And when it comes to selling to these executives, it’s the toughest crowd to convince. We call these types of executives the Controller.

Thankfully, Controllers make up only 9 percent of executive buyers. The bad news is, they are not easily persuaded. So, in order to understand Controllers, you need to understand:

The Four Top Characteristics of Controller Executives Are:

  1. They are often very arrogant and self-absorbed. Don’t be surprised if they don’t participate much during meetings. In fact, expect a lot of silence as they process information.
  2. They are objective and accurate, and expect the same from those around them.
  3. They deal only in facts and are detail-oriented.
  4. They are sensible and unemotional, and make decisions strictly based on facts.

With the Controller steering the meeting, you’re not going to convince them to buy from you so you have to look at it from a different perspective. There are four keys to dealing with the Controller—pay special attention to the first:

Here Are Four Keys to Success when Dealing with Controllers:

  1. They cannot be persuaded to do things, so you need to make the concept their idea. They need to take ownership, so enable action rather than force it.
  2. They want a highly structured and linear approach to all meetings.
  3. Build alliances with their trusted lieutenants, so you can gain trust.
  4. Draw your line and hold it. Don’t back down, but allow them to take control.

When you start to understand your executive buyers—and tailor your presentations to meet their style and expectations—you put yourself in position to win. Remember, it’s not about your preference for presenting. It’s all about their style for making decisions and how you respond to it.

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