Trying to attract that CEO who seem to be hidden in an impenetrable fort with his guards tightly guarding all possible ways to reach this person? Here are a few ways how we’ve done it over the years:
- Research: Most of the times simply motivating yourself does not work. Till you don’t have substance to talk about, no pep talk works. The good news is it is simple to our home-work. Speak to a few people in his or her office, try and understand what issues in your area of product or service the company is facing. Study the industry a little, your current clients may have faced similar problems in the past which they successfully solved thanks to you. Ask, listen, read. You will find most of your pitch there! When you know your business well, that boosts the confidence level automatically.
- Differentiate: This is a place where comparing yourself with your competitors will help. How do they talk, how do they approach this same CEO, how do they dress, which medium of communication do they usually use – study it all. And then be different in every major or minor way. Simply dressing and sounding different than your usual competitors itself does a lot. If most competitors are still using phone to reach that CEO, use LinkedIn! If everyone is using LinkedIn, use snail mail!!! Do anything but please for heaven’s sake be different.
- Exhibit Confidence: First is the confidence in our own head when we are talking to ourselves. We don’t need to compare ourselves with this big CEO person. He or she may be a big achiever with the power to make or break your coveted deal but you are an expert in your field. You are trying to meet this person to propose ways to make business easier and more profitable. And that is something that will help him or her, so this person needs you too! Afterall, what you seek is always seeking you. If you want this deal, this CEO wants someone to solve his or her problem too.
- Approach: Finally approach with conviction. Tell them in a nutshell why you two must meet and how it will help their company. For example, when we had to meet the MD of a large Indian Bank, we studied the sales challenges faced by the Bank in various geographies and at various levels before we sat down to write a LinkedIn email. When we did write that mail, we did not just get the 20 minutes that we requested for. We got to spend half a day with their senior management and signed the contract to train 700 people in less than a month.
- Converse: When you get to meet this CEO finally, converse, strike up a relationship. The best way to do this is first not to start asking invasive questions like, “So, Sir, how much does it hurt your bottom line?” No!!! Obviously, I am exaggerating here for impact. But, first start with easy topics and get to know each other. Earn mutual trust and then proceed. More on Conversing with the C-Suite in my next article.
And relax, it’s not the last CEO in the world! Neither is it a life and death situation. Have fun! Laugh while selling with your buyers. At yourself sometimes!
You might also like to attend a 90 minute live session we are conducting on ‘Getting Appointment with the CEO’ where you can voice your challenges and get answers to them immediately. Here’re the details.