Win-Over C-Level Decision Makers with Effective Communications
Learn to Find and Push the Execs’ Hot Buttons/ Engaging Executive Conversations

Capturing the attention of a top level person is extremely difficult. Holding it is even tougher. However, top level people do like to talk about themselves. They are usually happy to tell you what they want and why. These characters do not like people telling them what they need or should have, or why they should do something. They want to tell you what they want, but they won’t say that in so many words. That’s why you have to have some questions ready to get them talking. They will let you take the initiative, and in less than 2 minutes stick with you or tune you out.

Therefore when meeting with a senior level person, your focus has to be that person. And the best way to focus on someone is to ask them questions about their business as it relates to you. For example, “Ms. CEO, I know you’re very busy, and you’re waiting for me to tell you about my company, but is it OK if I ask you a few questions first?” (Permission to ask Questions) Then, “What are some of your expectations for the upcoming project?” Actually my favorite question is, “I know you’re really busy and I was wondering how come you’re taking the time to meet with me?” If you get a response like, “Well, you asked for the meeting.” Then you say, “OK but I’m sure a lot of people ask for meetings with you. How come you let me come in?” This will get the conversation going and it’s all about her. You see she granted you a meeting for a reason that’s meaningful to her and you want to know what that reason is.

Most people will assume the meeting has been granted because the exec wants to hear about how they can help him or her. However, if you lead with your presentation, even though it’s the premise of the meeting, it becomes all about you. If you attempt to make it about your stuff well then the focus is not on that person. It’s on you and your stuff. Senior people do not like to talk about you and your stuff. That’s why executive walk out or don’t show for presentation meetings. Focus on learning what the executive wants and then spin your presentation around how you can give it to them. This will hold the exec and engage him or her.

Make every effort to get him or her alone. This is how you will learn what really is important and how to win this person’s vote. Anyone will be reluctant to give you the real nitty gritty details of their desires when others are present. What they will give are party line information - company issues, etc. However delivering party line results does not really ring the bell for a senior executive. S/He wants his or her special something, along with the party line results.

Although your task is to dig out what’s special to this top level person, be away that different levels of management have different focuses. Low-level people like to hear about details and spec’s. High-levels want to hear about revenue potential, competitive advantage, completion time, profits, etc. Notice I didn’t say cost savings or return on investment. These are trite, overused, and not impact full anymore. Discuss low-level issues with high level people and you’ll lose them - and vice versa.

Common Situation

You’re Quick to Present

People tend to present the same information to everyone. You finally get a meeting with a senior person and after pleasantry’s you start telling how your stuff will be good for his company or how you are better than the competitions’ stuff.

Resulting Problem

You Miss the Interests and Bore the Exec

The senior people only stay for a few minutes or don’t show at all. Executives want information explicitly tailored to their individual desires. If you don’t know his or her special hot buttons, you’ll tell what you think should be important. If you don’t know for sure, you’ll tend to miss his or her target more often than not.
Check Yourself

Score: 4=Always; 3=Most Times; 2=Usually; 1=Sometimes; 0=Never.
1. When you are with a CEO, CFO, COO, are the meeting short and to the point? ____
2. Do they ask most of the questions? ____
3. Do you specifically ask what’s motivating him or her to do this project/purchase even though it’s been explained to you by a subordinate? ____
4. Do you probe and clarify what his/her perfect vision of the solution looks like? ____

Scoring: 3 + 4 – 1 – 2 = ??

Positive is good; Negative means you could improve your interviewing skills

Discover 7 more strategies for Engaging Executives in Meaningful Conversations plus actions to become comfortable Tak’n them to Streets in this Problem Solving E-Book: Win-Over C-Level Executives with Effective Communications. Learn what to do, how to do it and how to feel comfortable doing it.

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Author's Bio: 

Sam has put together his unique “Take’n It to the Streets” actions for you to feel you belong with any level or executive. Just click this link Elevate Yourself to the C-Level NOW 10 Strategies, Tactics and Techniques plus narratives and an example to show you how.