You have three minutes with the CEO… starting now

by on January 4, 2012 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog

Congratulations. You’ve finally made it into the CEO’s office. Rich walnut cabinets. Photos with celebrities. And right in the middle of the hugest desk you’ve ever seen is … an egg timer.

The CEO winds up the egg timer. “You have three minutes of my very expensive time,” she says. “Start talking.”

Should you:

  1. Explain how you can help her company save tons of money?
  2. Discuss your product’s return on investment?
  3. Ask her where she wants her company to be a year from now?
  4. Ask her how she got to meet Bono?

The first approach seems like a safe bet. CEOs are always worried about the bottom line, right?

Of course. But she doesn’t need to look at your charts and projections. She’s too busy herself, and she has people for that. The CFO. The head of production. Purchasing.

Return on investment won’t get you much further. Lots of people will tell you that you have to “talk the language of CEOs” – that is, ROI. But ROI is a conversation that CEOs have with investors, shareholders, lenders and financiers — not with salespeople.

Bono? Sure. Then move on to your favorite bands, and the ballgame last night and the unusual weather you’ve been having this time of year. You might as well just say, “I’ve done nothing to prepare for this meeting and I don’t have a plan.”

So what about the future? That’s a pretty good place to start. Here’s why: The CEO’s job is to create the future. It’s the hardest — and the loneliest — job in the organization. It can’t be delegated. If you can gain an insight into her vision of the future — and help her get there — you’re miles ahead of people who are only selling to the here and now.

photo credit: thenandagain

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