Sales Intelligence

How To Sell To A Sales Leader

Selling to a sales leader is tricky. For starters, they’re practically immune to sales tricks. They can see through techniques, and smell commission breath from a mile away. 

So it becomes critical to know their needs and preferences before hitting them up with your pitch. While every buyer is unique and different, there’s something that connects most sales leaders — their personality.

A majority of sales leaders exhibit a strong dominant type (Type D in the DISC personality model) personality in their professional interactions. It’s a common trait exhibited by leaders, but particularly sales leaders, given the nature of their role. 

According to a study by Humantic AI, 58% of sales leaders have a dominant personality type. Additionally, 20% more sales leaders have type D as their second most dominant trait.

Now, what is the D-type personality seen in sales leaders?

People with a high D type on the DISC personality model are said to have dominant personalities. In simpler words, they are extremely goal-oriented, fast, and have their eyes on the prize at all times — they don’t appreciate distractions or rambling tendencies. 

For sales leaders, who are constantly chasing revenue targets for the organization as a whole, while also helping the individuals on their team do the same, this personality type fits like a glove.

When you’re selling to sales leaders, knowing that a majority of them exhibit these personality traits, can help you tweak your approach in a way that works for them from the get go. 

We’ve earlier written about how to write cold emails, conduct discovery calls, handle objections, and choose a closing technique based on your buyer’s personality type.

Now that we know most sales leaders have a dominant personality, it’s worth exploring how to tweak your approach from the top of the funnel all the way down to closure. Let’s learn how to appeal to sales leaders, shall we?

Into a sales leader’s mind

  • They are generally direct, decisive, and goal-oriented. 
  • They like to be in control.
  • They are big-picture thinkers and expect needle-moving solutions that produce long-term results. 
  • They have an appetite for risk if there are clear mitigation strategies and an indication that it will lead to tangible results. 

How to sell to sales leaders

From the first touch to closure, personality-tuning your message is essential.

When writing them a cold email

What to doWhat not to do
1. Be direct and to the point. 
2. Be clear about your ask. Is it a meeting? Is it a yes/no reply? 
3. Mention the risks involved but also how they can be mitigated.
1. Avoid putting too much effort into relationship building.
2. Don’t go over them or mention other stakeholders just yet.

When making a cold call to a sales leader

What to doWhat not to do
1. Stick to your script. Don’t wing it.
2. Be confident. There are times when an unsure tone helps — this is not one of those. 
3. Check in with them every now and then, so it doesn’t become a monologue.
1. Don’t ramble.
2. Be too nice to the point where you sound subservient. 

Conduct discovery calls when selling to a sales leader

What to doWhat not to do
1. Tackle the big picture (goals) before getting into the means (current solution or lack thereof).
2. Their confidence tends to hide pain points under the surface, and dig deeper.
3. Ask them to walk you through their journey towards those goals and define success metrics in their own words.
4. Summarize their learnings before suggesting the next steps.
1. Jump right into success stories of buyers who were in a similar boat. Never the best idea with D-type buyers and particularly not during discovery.
2. Small talk and relationship building.

How to conduct a demo when selling to a sales leader

Pick up your notes from the discovery call, and see what truly moves the needle for them. Demo the features or solutions from your product that actually help them solve for it. 

Skip the rest, it’s all noise – at least that’s how they’re going to view it. Share a timeline with key next steps and remember, they like to move fast.

How to handle objections when selling to a sales leader 

Let’s say you’ve got their attention and your pitch has landed… kind of. What’s a sales cycle without some objection handling?

Type D buyers are almost notoriously direct – so expect harsh objections. But the good news is they are equally receptive to responses that are direct, and sometimes even challenging. Now’s not the time to play defense! 

Here’s a video on how a Humantic AI salesperson handled the objection from a D type sales leader

How to negotiate and close

When negotiating with a D-type sales leader, always remember that it all comes back to value. They don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks if they have conviction in your product and your value prop. When you see pushback on the cost front, don’t jump the gun and offer a discount. Sometimes that might actually reduce their product conviction. Counter-intuitive, we know!

Once you’re almost aligned on everything else, the ‘Now or never’ closing technique works like a charm with these buyers. Although, if you’re not alert, they might try these closing techniques on you (with terms favoring them) before you can try it on them. 

Closing notes

This should help you navigate the murky waters of selling to a sales leader. But a word to the wise: you might actually end up hurting your chances if you start applying these tips with each and every sales leader. Some Sales Leaders have C and I-type personalities too. (Rare for sure, but they exist!)

Download the Humantic AI chrome extension and breeze through your targets. You can sell to D-type sales leaders (and about 35 other major personalities) in a way that resonates with them.

Humantic AI reinvents human interaction by enabling its users to reliably understand other people's personality and behavior without requiring them to take any test. Using Humantic AI's cutting-edge personality AI, salespeople can consistently close more deals.

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