C-Level Executives are tough to meet with – even if it’s a small company. Unless you’ve built up credibility with someone close to this C-level executive you’ve got a 95% chance (almost certain) of being rejected. Worse yet, of the ones fortunate enough to get meetings, most are never able to ...C-Level Executives are tough to meet with – even if it’s a small company. Unless you’ve built up credibility with someone close to this C-level executive you’ve got a 95% chance (almost certain) of being rejected. Worse yet, of the ones fortunate enough to get meetings, most are never able to get invited back. This is because they don’t know how to quickly build credibility? So here are 5 tips to help you secure c-level executive meetings. And by the way, these 5 tips will also help you to get meetings with any hard to see buyers.
ASK FOR HELP
1. Ask for help. People you know, know people. If you ask, they will help connect you. However, frame your request to be specific for what you want. You may have to ask more people to find one that can get you to a c-level executive, but you’ll save a lot of energy in the long run. For example “Would you help me? Do you know any c-level sales executives, in companies with business to business sales over $100 million dollars that have over 20 sales people in their organization?” If the answer is yes, then ask, “Do you have a good enough relationship with this person to introduce me?” If your contact says, “No,”, then ask, “Do you know someone who does who you could introduce me to so that I could ask for his or her help?”
2. Use your Golden Network. These are the people that have benefited from working with you in the past or are believers of you in the present, i.e. the people you work with. You have developed credibility with them and they will feel comfortable helping you with introductions. Once again you will have to ask for their help, but in this case they owe you, they know you, they trust you and they respect you. They will share this credibility they have with you with the c-level executive you’d like to meet. Your Golden Network is your most useful avenue for getting you to the c-level executive suite. 99% of surveyed c-level executives agree that if someone they trust, from their staff or personally, makes the introduction, they will host a meeting.
3. Attain Credibility. It can be earned or it can be transferred. Earned credibility comes from doing something for someone and s/he benefits personally. It may be as simple as getting back to her/him with some information or getting her/him rewarded through the work you did together. Credibility can also be attained through a referral. It’s called transferred credibility because the other person transfers his credibility to you. And finally credibility is gleaned through your promoted reputation of delivering to others. Both transferred credibility and reputation credibility are very fragile. It is yours to lose the minute you open your mouth. At that point you have to start earning credibility by building respect, developing trust, and delivering results.
4. Communication Effectively. With C-level executives you have to listen to hold their attention. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but c-level executives love to listen to themselves more than anyone else. So you have to ask opening questions to get them talking. Now you may be scared that you won’t be able to get your message out if they are doing all the talking, but in due time you will. It’s like this. As he talks, you will learn, and hopefully you will start to understand what is interesting, valuable and important to this individual. Now when you do start talking you can target your presentation only to these values. What you think should be important, may not be. You must also learn the C-level executive’s risk tolerance. Some C-level executives hate risk so you must show you can deliver with minimum chance of failure. Others will do anything to make big strides, so you will have to show you provide the best chances of success. Both scenarios are about showing you can deliver what s/he values better than your competition. If you miss the deliverable target, and/or fail to cover the risk aspect, your meeting will be short and you will not be allowed back. Therefore you must interview to get critical information, clear up any ambiguities and confirm to be sure s/he knows you understand. Then structure your presentation accordingly. This type of communication holds true for a first meeting with a C-level executive as well as a conversation with a long-time C-Level executive partner.
5. Follow Up. Getting invited back should be the goal of anyone trying to connect with C-level executives. This is when you’ll really start reaping the benefits. The only way back is if you deliver the results that reward the executive. This is now personal. The executive must have enhanced or protected his/her career by working with you. To insure this happens, test for satisfaction. However, the measurement you will be gauged against will be specific to the individual – not the company. Learn what constitutes success for her/him. How will he measure you? Track your results against this metric and continually report updates to the C-level executive to be sure that s/he is happy. Do not depend on the subordinate to deliver you messages. Now if the C-level executive is happy, great. Ask for more business or referrals. If not, set a course with the C-level executive to get back on his track. So always set the stager for follow-up meetings to report and measure the C-level executives’ satisfaction. Again, don’t get stuck with subordinates, no matter what they tell you.
Sam Manfer makes it easy for any sales person to feel comfortable connecting with top, C-Level leaders. For more inspiring articles and to receive your free Selling Wisdoms E-zine with powerful selling tips visit his Advanced Sales Training Website sammanfer.com.
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