When you want to make points with a decision-making CEO, you have to think like a chief executive. Whatever it is that you are trying to sell—a solution, a new plan, the need for more resources—your best chance at a successful conclusion is to take a page from an executive sales training primer that teaches how executives think. Then you are prepared with the right approach, the right perspective, and the right level of detail.
Here is what executives tell us they want to hear from you in order to seriously consider your request:
- Begin with the end in mind. Start with your conclusion. Don’t waste your executive’s time with a long build-up to what you want. State it at the outset and then spend the rest of the valuable audience time explaining your rationale.
- Look forward not backward. Focus on the future, not the past. Clearly describe a vision of how your proposal will specifically improve the situation going forward in an area that matters most.
- Be outcome focused. Think results, not process. In the initial buying stages, executives are more interested in what you are trying to achieve and less in the means to achieve it.
- Be prepared at the right level. Do your homework. Anticipate all possible questions and have clear, compelling and reasonable answers ready – along with the strategic and business implications.
- Be clear and precise. Use simple vocabulary, relevant examples and avoid clichés.
- Be aligned and customer-centric. Be sure your proposed solution aligns 100% with the top 5-10 strategic priorities of both the executive and their company. If, for example, the organization is focused on belt tightening and you have an innovative idea that will save costs, go for it. Remember it is about helping the client to succeed, not hitting your sales targets.