It’s one thing to meet up with regular clients and propose business ideas, products, or services, but it’s completely another to set an appointment with C-level executives. Chances are, that your usual professional strategies won’t work with top executives—especially if you’re promoting something of value.
These executives sit on top of the hierarchy for good reasons. They have earned their titles through their robust knowledge and skills, their level of expertise, and their track record of industry experiences. Hence, you don’t expect them to meet up with anyone or invest in what you’re essentially promoting.
You are fortunate enough if you have chanced to set an appointment with a C-level executive, and this highly esteemed person has agreed to it. When presented with this great opportunity to sell, here are four tips on how to deal with a top executive.
1. See mutual connections and have a proper introduction
When you’re fortunate enough to have an appointment with a top executive, it’s best to have a proper introduction prior to the actual meet-up.
What you can do is to see mutual connections and engage with someone who can introduce you to this executive. One way to approach this by checking your professional connections on LinkedIn. You can also search through your existing network of colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders. If you know someone at their company, then that can give you an advantage—provided you know the right people, of course.
The ultimate goal is to have a proper introduction before the actual meet-up. This way, the executive at least have something stronger to remember about you beyond simply your email or outbound message.
2. Perform due diligence prior to the meet-up
After the proper introduction, it’s crucial to come in prepared. Before the actual meeting, you should conduct research and perform due diligence when knowing the person you’re speaking to.
First, you need to learn more about the company and what the executive’s professional role entails. You can do this by conducting a background check and reviewing everything to be known—after all, many things can be found with a simple Google search.
Second, it helps to know the executive on a more personal level. You can check social media and start searching for his interests, hobbies, and others. Doing so will allow you to create engaging conversations and build meaningful connections with the top executive. Ultimately, preparation is the key when speaking to someone of significant status.
3. Exhibit yourself as a trusted advisor—not just a partner or vendor
When it comes to dealing with a top executive, you may present yourself in three ways: trusted advisor, business partner, or vendor. While a business partner is considered as someone pursuing business interests for both parties, a vendor merely focuses on completing transactions with the executive.
To be effective, you have to exhibit yourself as a trusted advisor—one who gets involved in the business process and gains the executive’s trust through a personal connection. Ultimately, it’s best to alienate yourself from your business to earn the executive’s trust and confidence by acting in his best interest rather than your own.
Dealing with a C-level executive can be quite a challenge. However, effective approaches will help you make a successful appointment and even close a sale.
Be sure to follow some of the valuable tips outlined above—see mutual connections and have a proper introduction, perform due diligence before the meet-up, and exhibit yourself as a trusted advisor. All these will help you make successful dealing with a top executive for the good of both parties!
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