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Sales Leadership and Meeting the CEO: Are You Ready?

Securing a meeting with the CEO is cause for celebration, right?

chief-executive-officerIt should be, but for some salespeople, the thought of talking to the head of a company can cause anxiety.

If you want to strengthen your sales leadership skills, though, these types of meetings are exactly the situations you need.

The good news is that you can more than adequately prepare for a meeting with anyone in the C-Suite, if you are willing to put in the extra effort and time.

I guarantee that you will be glad you did, especially if you can move past your trepidation and embrace that such a meeting may result in more business and better relationships.

Here are a few tips:

1. Read whatever you can on-line about the company.

The more knowledge you have about the company, the better.  This can include everything from public information, such as their annual report, to newsworthy stories, such as the company’s involvement in local civic and charity organizations.

Also, be sure to find out as much information as possible about the CEO, especially his or her involvement in the community.  You are looking for common points of interest, shared acquaintances and a general understanding of the CEO’s interests, personality, etc.

2. Monitor the news for stories that could impact the company.

Ideally, you want to be able to not only understand the industry of the company, but also any current events or policy changes that could impact their industry.  For example, if it is a transportation company, consider how energy prices are impacting their bottom line.

Essentially, you are looking for any information that could be a stepping stone into relevant conversation — and, at the same time, demonstrate to the CEO that you are paying attention to the bigger picture.

3. Identify key objectives of the company.

This is where your homework is vital.

The CEO isn’t concerned at all with “buying” anything.  The CEO is only interested in “investing” in products and services that better equip the company to meet its objectives.  You need to understand those objectives as much as possible before you go into the meeting.

Don’t expect the CEO to tell you the objectives; expect him or her to elaborate on them.

BONUS TIP:  Prepare a list of “peer questions/comments” that you can use in the meeting.  These are questions or statements that show you are aware of their level and environment, and you are comfortable having discussions at that level.

Be sure that before using the peer questions and comments, you have first rehearsed and practiced multiple times in front of a mirror.  You need to not just appear comfortable, but to genuinely be comfortable in the discussion.

The next time you get a meeting on your calendar with the CEO or other top level company official, use the tips above to make sure the CEO knows that you appreciate how valuable their time is.

After all, securing a meeting with the CEO is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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