Credibility is the key to success with the C-Suite executives and other high powered influencers. The problem is how to do this quickly so they don’t tire of you or refuse to meet. Respect, trust and presumption of results are the 3 steps to credibility

Keeping it all about the C-Level person is the overriding precept and must be your focus. These movers and shakers are not interested in why you are there, or what you want to sell, or what you want to learn and certainly not what you want to say. C-Levels only care about what they want to tell you and with that information, what you can do for him or her.


• Do the Obvious
Show up on time, look better, and be polite.

• Make Your Questions All About the Person (your focus)
For example, when asking, “How are you?” Listen and encourage the C-Suite exec to tell you more; i.e. “Oh,” “Really,” “What else?” etc. Don’t tell how you relate and then tell your story.

You are showing respect as you would to someone in a powerful and influential position – someone who will determine your fate.


• Ask Questions about Him
Ask about his issues/concerns/challenges or desires as it relates to solutions you provide – not what you’re selling (your products or services.)

For Example: I sell sales training, coaching and consulting, and these services provide sellers with more sales, faster sales cycles, more effective sales management, etc. Therefore, I would ask, “What are your challenges in getting more sales?”

Now he may say something about slow sales cycles, which I can help with, or about poor product design, which I can’t. However, and this is a big but, I don’t interrupt. Regardless of what he says. I encourage him to keep talking. The more he talks the more his trust in me is building. It is not about my expertise at this point. It is about letting him tell me what he wants to tell me. Eventually he will get around to me and that’s when I know I have his trust.

In order to sell to C-Levels, sales people need C-Level sales trained to avoid the long, intimidating and unsuccessful road of trial and error. Selling to C-levels and other top executives is not the same as selling to the lower ranks.

• Listen Intently
Take notes, and when he’s finally finished, asked about other issues or desires. Then, feed what he said back to him. Nothing builds trust faster than showing a C-Suite exec you were listening.

• Focus on the C-Level
Keep asking yourself, “When I speak, is it about me or the C-Level exec?”

Presumption of Delivering Results

• Ask If He Wants to Hear How You Can Help
Again, it goes to respect

• Present Relevant Solution
Talk, using proof, about how you can deliver desired solutions to those things he’s talked about and those you’ve brought up that he said he was interest in. Don’t stray.

• After Presenting, Ask How He Feels – Not What He Thinks
Feelings are what drive actions, and thinking inhibits them. If he feels good, you have shown him he can get what he wants or solve his problems with you, which means you have established credibility.

However, if his feelings’ response isn’t a strong positive, you’ve failed in respect, trust or results -meaning no credibility.

Learn how to quickly establish credibility and you’ll get what you want – commitment, the order, a referral, whatever.

Author's Bio: 

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Sam Manfer is the leading expert on selling to CEOs and powerful people. Sam is a sales strategist, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, The Complete Guide to C-Level Selling – getting to and influencing top level decision-makers. Sam makes it easy for any business owner, manager or sales professional to generate quality leads, and beat the competition. Grab your FREE E-Books, Articles and other Advanced Sales Training Tips at