The price of entry to the C-Suite and selling to the CEO or other senior leader of an organization begins with establishing trust.
CEOs are in a unique position, they’re responsible for the organization they lead but at the same time they’re isolated from it.
Regardless of how much the CEO may want to be connected to the organization they lead there will always be barriers due to the title they carry and the impact it has on communication.
CEOs have to be cautious regarding who they interact with. It’s far too easy for things to be misconstrued and subsequent problems to arise based on who they chose to interact with or not to interact with.
Trust is the price of entry. When the CEO has trust in you, they will then begin to accept what you have to say.
Challenge is in developing trust with a person you don’t know — and who won’t meet with you because they don’t trust you. It’s a dilemma that is typically only broken when you first develop trust with another person who the CEO already trusts.
Best place to start is by developing connections and trust with those who might be in the CEO’s inner circle. First place to go is LinkedIn, and through the power of networking via social media, to build relationships with those who might be connected to the CEO.
Second place is through industry / civic organizations to which the CEO maybe connected. Again, the stature you can build for yourself in these may very well open a door to the C-Suite.
Third place is by developing an on-line presence that allows others to see you as a leader. This means having a profile that links you to fellow thought leaders and business leaders who the CEO might associate with.
One of the best ways to do this is by contributing content to industry websites and other places where you’ll be seen as a leader. The benefit of this is even if you do have another entry into the C-Suite, the CEO or their gatekeeper will undoubtedly check you out via a Google search to verify your credentials.
Your thinking is correct that this is not a quick process, but establishing trust is not something you sprinkle pixie dust on and suddenly it appears.
It might take time, but the rewards are huge because C-Suite people are connected to other C-Suite people. This means a connection into one will many times turn into an introduction to a second and third.
Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.