Congratulations. You finally got a chance to sell to the CEO. Win him or her over, and your sale is in the bag. So what are you going to talk about?
Here’s a rule of thumb: Ask yourself, “Could I have this conversation with anyone else in the organization?” If the answer is yes, you’re talking about the wrong stuff.
Look at it from the CEO’s perspective. Time is his or her most precious commodity. So the whole time you’re talking, the CEO is looking for someone to send you to. If you’re talking specs and performance, off you go to the head of engineering. If you’re talking ROI and cash flow, just send the figures over to the CFO.
It’s not that CEO considers these issues unimportant. It’s just that he or she has someone to absorb all that information and, if it looks good, to pass along a recommendation.
So what’s left to talk about?
Well, questions that only the CEO can answer. For example: “Where are you trying to take this organization? What do you need to get there? What’s going to keep you from getting there?”
The CEO’s #1 job is to set the course for the organization. It’s not a job that can be delegated. So if you have an opportunity to talk to a CEO, talk about that. And if you can leave the CEO with one thought, let it be, “This vendor can help us get where we need to go.”
If you can sell that idea to the CEO, you’ll have made the most of your meeting.
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