Published 15. Oct. 2019
Talking To CEOs: Face-To-Face Meetings With C-Suites
Face-to-face meetings with C-suites operate by a different set of rules and the usual sales approach will not work. To make your meetings productive, read the tips you need to know for a successful face-to-face with CEOs.
C-level executives are constantly on the move. They have to attend meetings after meetings and when it comes to your turn to meet with a CEO, it’s understandable that you might feel a bit intimidated or struggle to connect with them.
In this article, we’ve rounded up the top five tips that you should know when meeting with a C-suite to help improve your chances. So, even if you only have 15 minutes, you can confidently approach any senior leadership and make an effective sales pitch with these tips!
1) Present strategic value
CEOs and c-suites are always focused on making key decisions for their company that helps push their desired future and revenue goals. The moment you meet a C-level executive in a face-to-face meeting, you need to be able to articulate the business and strategic value that your business provides to their company
Instead of jumping straight into your product, service, or company presentation like a typical sales pitch, focus more on what your potential client’s goals and pain points are for their company. This way, you’ll show that you understand what their concerns are and are able to grab their attention right away by giving attention to issues that have.
When they express an interest in solving that particular pain point, you can offer and start talking about the solution that your business provides.
2) Always be prepared
Making a face-to-face sales pitch with a C-level executive, it’s always important to make sure that you’re properly prepared before you even step into that meeting. Not only will you avoid looking unprofessional, but it also shows you’re respectful of their time by doing your prep work beforehand.
Research on the person you will be meeting, including their business, services, products, and especially their pain points, so you can present the value your solution offers to them.
Some points that you should look into:
- Find out who their rival/competition is
- What other relevant industry leaders are doing
- What trends that are coming in the relevant market
- How their organization operates
Of course, you can ask clarifying questions during the meeting, but you should already have most of the answers beforehand. A face-to-face meeting with a CEO means bringing new insights and opportunities and you cannot do that if you haven’t done your research.
3) Keep your agenda flexible
A surefire way to make your meeting unproductive with a C-level executive is to be under-prepared or over-prepared with your agenda.
Over-preparing your agenda with strict talking points doesn’t allow for natural conversations to happen. This makes it hard for you to build rapport with them or worse, make it feel like a one-sided presentation rather than a potential partnership.
Conversely, an under-prepared agenda (or worse, no agenda at all) shows that you lack a clear plan and focus. You might end up missing key points and waste time gathering your thoughts while trying to lead the conversation.
So what’s a good balance?
Make your agenda flexible and goal-oriented. Rather than limiting it to specific talking points, build your agenda with big-picture goals in mind so that you can guide the conversation to your desired topics. This keeps your face-to-face meeting on track while still allowing flexibility for dialogue and questions.
4) Use insights and stats to your advantage
Approaching a C-suite is different compared to lower-level stakeholders or executives. While using discovery questions to qualify leads might work in a normal sales pitch, with a C-level executive, they don’t have time for too many questions.
What they are interested in are tangible benefits that your solution can provide them. Reference real-world insights and relevant stats that showcase how your solution is an opportunity to solve their business pain points.
This is where prior research and investment/trend reports will be helpful as you can use these data to your advantage and convince them how you can tangibly improve their bottom line.
5) Listen to your prospect
Quite possibly the most important advice we can give you: Forget the usual, aggressive sales tactics and listen to your potential client.
If you want C-level executives to take you seriously, you need to actively listen to them and not steamroll the conversation. You risk overlooking opportunities to understand and address their concerns if you’re not listening to their conversation.
A face-to-face meeting with a C-level executive is not a one-sided sales pitch. It’s a dialogue between you and a potential partner. Actively listening to their conversation allows you to add context to your solution, make your meeting more productive, and more importantly, build a strong rapport.
C-suites meetings can be overwhelming at first but mastering these tips is worth the effort. Once you understand how to approach C-level executives, you’ll increase your chances of landing some of the most lucrative deals in the business!