A CEO is working with a lot of papers on his desk. Underneath the papers there’s a sharp letter opener. As he slides the papers over to do another task, he hears the scrape of the letter opener on his beautiful wood desk. He looks and is distressed because it has left an ugly mark. He calls his admin and she’s also distressed. The VP of Sales is next door and he calls her over to look. She’s no help. Then the admin says, let’s call maintenance. George the maintenance guy comes up. He gets some Old English Polish, applies it, and the scratch disappears.

Two months later the CEO spills coffee leaving a stain. So who does he call directly? That’s right George. Why, because George took care of the problem and delivered results. See it’s not about level. It’s about who can this high level executive trust to handle his issue.

Here’s a common situation. You feel you’re too low on the totem pole to reach out to some senior managers. You feel it would be better for your boss to meet with this high level exec. The resulting problem is this. Your senior managers only have the credibility of their title. The problems are: (1) they are not as close to the situation as you are and can easily screw up the opportunity the minute they open their mouths, and (2) you lose your chance to develop credibility.

Prepare Yourself

1. Pick and exec you’d like to meet. Getting to high level people (or anyone) is all about credibility.
a. What have you done to earn credibility with that executive? If nothing,
b. Who has credibility with this executive and is willing to transfer it (set-up a meeting) to you?
c. What would you have to say for that person to set-up a meeting for you?

2. People will only agree to meetings if there is a benefit for them. What’s in it for this executive to meet with you? Be detailed and specific. You’ll have to use this to get that meeting.

3. Other than title, what qualities do higher level people have that gets them meetings?
a. What does their position represent to get them the meeting?
b. What do you have to do to represent the same effect?

4. What would it take for your boss to get a meeting? What would he say? What additional work (if any) has to be done to get you the meeting instead?

5. List 3 people at high levels you’ve met with by yourself or without your boss?
a. How did you get there?
b. What’s keeping you from duplicating these same steps for a future meeting?

6. What else can you do to be seen as a credible solution source to a senior manager?

Tak’n It to the Streets

1. Now for that same exec you pick above, how will you get him or her to respect and trust you?
a. Get someone the executive trust to introduce you. Look to those people you’ve work with. But you’d better be prepared.
b. Show them or remind them they can win with you.
c. Tell them what to say and why it is important for the exec to meet with you. I.e. you want to make sure his/her expectations are being met by you and your company.

2. In the case where you use your bosses, how will you get them to transfer the credibility of their positions to you?
a. Instruct your boss to defer questions to you. Encourage your boss to let the client’s exec know that you have the capability to handle his account. Note: You have to set this up with your bosses ahead of time.

Bonus Tip: FREE E-book Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers . If you can’t get to the powerful decision makers, you’re depending on others to do your selling at the high levels. The problem is you won’t know what they say, if they say anything at all.

Author's Bio: 

Sam Manfer is the leading expert on selling to CEO’s and other influential people – doctors, gov’t officials, etc. Sam is a sales strategist, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, The Complete Guide to C-Level Selling. That is, getting to and influencing top level decision-makers. Sam makes it easy for any sales person to generate quality leads, and become a 70% closer. Grab your FREE E-Books, Videos, Articles and other Advanced Sales Training Tips at www.sammanfer.com

Bonus Tip: FREE E-book “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers”