First question to ask yourself is, “Why is having a meeting with the CEO so important?”
If you can’t bring real value to the CEO, there is no purpose for the meeting. Value is in the information/insights. Challenge is in being careful as to what you bring and what you talk about.
Barring the CEO being a technical wonk, the last thing you want to bring is technical specifications, etc.
CEOs don’t want to be embarrassed by what they don’t know. This goes way beyond merely ego. It is about how the CEO feels they need to be positioned with their employees, shareholders, customers and industry.
If you come into a meeting with the CEO with specific information (technical reports, spreadsheets, diagrams, etc.), the CEO may quickly respond by sending you packing.
Anytime a CEO or any other member of the C-Suite feels threatened, they’re going to protect themselves by removing the threat.
Even if the CEO is not threatened, they many times will look at technical type of information as not being worthy of their time. They will see it as being tactical in nature and thus the domain of someone lower down in the organization.
CEOs want to deal with strategic issues they feel they need to understand better that they have critical views on. The value you bring is in questions you ask.
If you’re afraid to ask questions that both you and the CEO can’t answer, then you’re not confident enough to meet with the CEO.
This doesn’t mean you go into the meeting without information you want to share. No, you walk in with both questions to ask and insights to share, should the need arise.
The need is built on whether the CEO sees value in the specific topic. Don’t make it a sales call where you do an information dump. Instead, make it a high-level discussion where you’re looking for specific decisions to be made in a timely manner.
The questions you ask do require you to have an opinion, but your opinion only matters after the CEO has shared their opinion.
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.