13th March, 2018

Throw away your job title and start selling

One of the biggest barriers to a great business conversation is a person’s job title.

Titles have a way of defining us which ultimately limits what we think we can do. For example, an ‘accountant’ may feel that they can only talk about financial matters.

That’s 100 percent not true.

The main aim of those who sell for a living and are tasked with winning work is to get meetings with senior decision makers, or those who hold the purse strings.

Quite often, having bagged a meeting with a senior person, the enterprising salesperson is immediately pushed lower down the chain in the buyer organisation.

The reason why this happens is because of the self-imposed box we put ourselves in. Ask yourself, do you genuinely think:

‘Why would the CEO want to meet with me, I’m just an account manager / accountant / lawyer / banker / software developer etc ?’

If you do, you’re not alone.

READ: You are not your mindset, but your mindset rules your life!

The problem with this thinking is that it’s a self-fulfilling statement.

If you think of yourself as ‘just’ the technical service or the agent of the products you offer, then it is highly unlikely that CEOs will want to meet with you.

Here are two ways to change that thinking:

1. Throw away your business cards

Metaphorically, not literally – after all this could be dangerous, and recycling is much better for the planet!

What I really mean is, imagine yourself going to the window with your box of business cards, opening that window and then throwing those cards out of the window.

Doing this helps starts the process of removing the self-imposed barriers you have in place.

2. Broaden your horizons

To have meetings with those at the top you’ll need to start understanding more about the world they inhabit.

These leaders run businesses and look to the future as well as ‘the now’, across a broad range of issues.

Look at what they comment on or like on social media. Read industry papers, attend conferences or watch relevant videos.

This helps you to get an understanding of the issues or trends that are emerging for those at the top, within those companies you are targeting.

How this works in practice

The above is all well and good, but how does this work in the real world?

A few years back, I was working with a senior business leader here in NZ.

They had repeatedly tried to meet with the CEO of a large organisation in the construction sector, but it wasn’t going so well.

So, we started by figuring out what we knew about the CEO and their industry – and we began to find some themes we believed were important to them.

It turned out that the changing landscape of travel (think Uber, driverless cars) was going to have a potentially massive impact on their business.

Next we approached this CEO, offering to share some insights around what other organisations overseas where looking to do, and the plans they had in place to sustain growth in a changing market.

The email came back within five minutes, “sounds great can you meet next week?”

This worked for my client, because they had found out what was important to the other person, had offered them some ideas linked to this that may help them, and they hadn’t talked about their service or offering at all.

They went beyond the self-imposed limits of their job title and dug deeper.

Therefore, to get more appointments, forget your own job title and focus on what’s important to your potential customers.


Want to more help with sales and relationship building? Then visit the Academy of Trust’s online learning and coaching platform to learn more.