How to Sell to the Board: Three Keys to Successful Board Level Selling

When you sell large projects, even the CEO has a buying threshold beyond which he needs to get board-level approval. Read on to discover three keys to selling to the board.

What are the mission priorities?

The first key is to understand the organization’s mission priorities. A mission is what the company is assigned to accomplish by the board of directors. Priorities are the order in which tasks are accomplished; It’s about sequence and timing.

The Board of Directors is concerned with these elements, with an emphasis on What will be done, Why It will be done, and when It will be done. They will also consider potential and real risks and ways to mitigate or eliminate them. But they won’t delve into ways to get the job done. Don’t get too deep how. They employ people with an eye for detail and that’s what you sell to them; How to get the desired result.

You need to know the priorities and interests of the board members. Then you can show how you will contribute to those priorities and address those concerns.

The board makes decisions based on its confidence in the plan, in the people, and in the process. Expect to provide evidence that you can deliver in these three areas.

What are the measures of success?

The second key to selling to the board is understanding how to measure success. How will they know to pay executive bonuses?

Measures of success often include revenue, profits, or growth goals. But the criteria for success can also be market share, access to new markets, or competitive success. You will need to define their criteria and be able to articulate how you can significantly contribute to these results.

Each board member will have a slightly different view of what constitutes success and what defines risk, so do your homework or you’ll be able to quickly adapt to their individual opinions.

How do you get to the board of directors?

The third key is to get to the level of the board. In most cases, you won’t get it in person. But your proposals and reports will do if the CEO believes in your plan.

So you need to be excellent at creating proposals at board level and writing presentations that others will make on your behalf. It must include all of the items listed in this article. The executive sponsor will help you with the other materials required to convince the board to go your way.

Over time, as you grow your personal brand and establish credibility with the board, you may be invited to present in person. And when you do, you become one of the best sales professionals on the planet.

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