There’s never more at stake than when you’re meeting with a customer’s Ultimate Decision Maker: the CEO. If you handle the meeting well, all obstacles will melt away and every door in the organization will be open to you. But if you blow it, you’re done.

CEOs, of course, are smart, sophisticated buyers. That’s how they got to the top in the first place. But to sell to them successfully, you must treat them like a three-year-old.

Here’s why: All of them suffer from “occupational A.D.D.” Not literally, of course. But they have countless priorities competing for their time. So it’s hard to get and keep their attention.

When you meet with a CEO, you’ll probably be tempted to show just how knowledgeable and insightful you are. And because you’ve worked so hard to get this meeting – and because time is so short – you’re going to try to pack in as much as you can. But that’s not what a busy CEO needs.

They need you to focus on the ONE thing they care about RIGHT NOW. And if you don’t … well, their phone is ringing and they’ve got other people waiting to see them, so why don’t you go talk to Alice in Purchasing?

When you’re selling to CEOs, skip the preliminaries, the credentials, the small talk, the technical issues. Walk into that meeting with one objective and one alone: to explain as quickly as possible how you’re going to help their company succeed.

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