Executive Level Buying Behavior – Steve Driben

Executive Level Buying Behavior – Steve Driben

  • 25 Jun 2016
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Have you ever considered why someone makes a purchase? Did you know that a person’s emotions play a key part of his/her decision-making process? If your answer to these questions is “no” or “I never thought about sales that way”, read on.

Behavior Behind the Sale

Successful sales people are considered “trusted advisors”, rainmakers who drive the most sales, and develop the deepest customer relationships. They have a defined sales strategy in place and make the most of every opportunity. They understand sales psychology and utilize this to continually differentiate themselves from the competition.


Do you recall one of my earlier blogs Selling in the Executive Suite which focuses on securing a meeting with a C-level person? LeadershipIf not, definitely set a side 3 minutes and read it as it addresses one of the biggest challenges sales people face. In the interim and to help you out, I am providing a Cliff Note’s summary. The blog addressed your game plan for the meeting along with ensuring you stay focused on the goal of the meeting. It also included a five-step process to make the most of the opportunity.

1. Do your homework and align with the executive’s personal agenda.

2. Establish/strengthen credibility immediately focusing on business issues that the executive faces.

3. Listen and guide the conversation (the executive does most of the talking)

4. Provide value by introducing a different view supported by your experience solving the issue.

5. Involve the executive on the next step and strengthen his or her sponsorship.

Did You Really Do Your “Homework”?

Did you research deep enough to uncover how your contact makes buying decisions? Do you know what the corporate procurement policies are? SalesCould there be pressure from the Board of Directors or other political pressure that are influencing this decision? Remember, you shared a compelling reason that secured this C-level appointment. This same C-level executive does not have a standard process or reason for granting meetings and as such, it is your responsibility to expose the real challenge you need to solve.

Science Behind Decision Making

Popular and referred to by every top sales expert, there are two sides of the buying decision; Buying rationale and buying psychology. Simply put, the left side of the brain is logical, analytical and numbers SERVICES-1024x282driven and the right side of the brain is creative, emotional and visual.

Left-brain decision makers will base their purchase on objective, rational economic assessment and perceived risk. They will use a “model” (see below) to guide their decision and will follow every buying step “by the book”.

Project and Procurement Process (abridged software & IT example)

1. Initial Requirement Capture: Business strategy context, scope requirements, creation of steering and working groups, market analysis, etc.

2. Business Case and High Level Design: Requirement review, project plan for development, outline test strategy, budgeting, release plan, etc.

3. Detailed Design: Requirement review (this is not a typo), plan of approach, technical design, architecture review, security review, etc.

4. Build & Test: Simulated live environment testing, user training, launch, evaluation of launch, review of results, etc.

3Now, imagine that any part of this list has a problem. The left-brain decision maker will halt the project until he/she is able to “check the box” for completion. This is very frustrating for the sales person and in some circumstances can kill your deal.

Luckily for you, many C-level executives are right-brain or right & left brain decision makers. They rarely make purely objective buying decisions. Instead, attitudes, assumptions and emotions are also involved balancing logic and instinct.

If you have completed your homework, you will understand how your contact makes buying decisions, solving the underlying problem and seal the deal!


Steve Driben is an Executive Advisor with Boardroom Advisory Group and a Business Performance Advisor with Insperity helping businesses run better, grow faster and make more money. To learn more, call (704) 559-9097 or email steve.driben@boardroomadvisorygroup.com.

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