You’ve got your meeting scheduled with the CEO or you’re on the verge of getting the meeting.
In either case, the question is asked, “Why should you be able to take up the CEO’s valuable time?”
The most precious resource the CEO or any other senior level member has is their own time.
If there is a way for them to free up more of their time, they will do it and one easy way is to have someone else in the organization take care of something.
Guess what? You’re now the “something” they can send off to another person.
Some might argue that this is not a problem, because it is the CEO who is referring you somewhere else. Well, that may be the case, but this could still be a problem. Once you’ve been referred out of the C-Suite, you’ll most likely never be back in the C-Suite.
Key to not being sent packing to a lower level department is for the CEO or other senior person to see you as being of strategic importance to them.
If they see you as a salesperson, you’re gone! This means you must set the stage for a strategic discussion based on the strategic outcomes/issues that impact the CEO.
Being seen as a strategic resource means your meeting is not about “selling X systems,” but rather about discussing necessary outcomes from a major upgrade or something else with which you know the CEO is going to be concerned.
One of the best ways is by having 3-5 strategic questions you can provide the CEO and/or gatekeeper when setting up the meeting.
The questions you’re posing cannot be ones anyone but the CEO can answer. Along with the questions, you need to have 2 critical facts you can share that demonstrate your knowledge and will show the CEO you’re not coming in empty handed.
Your meeting with the CEO must be geared toward expediency. Keep it short and tight and geared toward achieving a specific next step.
Unlike a sales call at a lower level where patience can be a virtue, in the C-Suite, speed is key. If the CEO feels you’re too slow, you’ll quickly find yourself in front of the low-level person you were trying to avoid.
An easy rule I like to follow is a 20-minute meeting with a member of the C-Suite needs to accomplish as much as a 90-minute meeting with a lower-level person.
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.