Are you suffering from a reluctance to spend time with senior executives?
Do you find that you are most comfortable with people who you believe are equal to you?
Does that mean that you can’t go in a see a CEO? A VP Manufacturing?
Stuck with the Network manager? Not worthy to see the CIO?
Do you suffer from the “Impostor Syndrome”?
(Feel that people will find out that you are not as bright as them)
Here are a few suggestions that you may like to try to work through this …
We cover some of this type of topic in our Business Development and Sales Training Workshops
By the way unless you went to “Slough Comprehensive” (Eton Public School to the rest of us) we all go through it. ?
1. Get over your personal social status hang-ups:
If you tell yourself anything like what’s below here, you’re not just in trouble.
You’ve lost the game before getting on the field.
- I’m not interesting enough
- I don’t provide enough value to be worthy of senior executive attention
- I’ll just be too nervous;
- I’ll mess up
- Senior executives’ time is more important than mine
- Senior executives aren’t my peers
- Senior executives don’t want to be friends with me
- I don’t want to be friends with senior executives
- I shouldn’t talk about, or ask about, anything personal
- I won’t get through so why bother trying
The greatest barriers to establishing ongoing, rich relationships with senior executives are personal hang ups.
If relationships with top people are what you want, don’t psyche yourself out of your chance.
2. You are an Equal behave like one:
Don’t come across as inferior to a senior executive.
Don’t come over as being superior or arrogant either. Equal is fine
In order to do this you must have confidence in the value you can offer from a business perspective.
You must have confidence in yourself too.
3. You need to be relevant to the business of the senior exec:
Find out what’s important to your senior executive.
Read up about issues in the business . Get an annual report, read the chairman’s statement if it’s a plc.
Do you homework at the levels below your executive and make some educated guesses at what may be worrying them and for goodness sake ASK.
How about you go to your Senior execs and get them to tell you what keeps them awake at night?
Be curious and interested.
Don’t just focus on problems. You’ll find people who are looking for business growth, innovation, and competitive advantage.
Executives seek ideas that will be “the next big thing” for their business and their agenda.
Bring these ideas to the table and you’ll be on your way.
4. Remember senior executives are people just like you.
They have emotions and personal interests.
CEOs have kids, like sports, want to be seen as successful, are passionate about politics.
They want to retire, drink pina coladas and walking in the rain and read detective novels on by the pool.
In my experience if you walk into a meeting looking for 2 areas of common ground you’ll find them.
If you don’t you won’t. and when you do the common ground can last a long time.
5. Have a good conversation:
Don’t ask questions you should know the answer to if you’d bothered with research.
Don’t go on about anything for too long.
Be Interested first, Listen hard and well. Provide ideas. Be prepared. Know your stuff.
Don’t have more than 6 Powerpoint slides to describe anything.
6. Be determined:
It might take a while, don’t give up grit your teeth.
Sometimes you will only get there through trusted connections.
Work up through lower-level contacts collecting data as you go.
Sometimes reaching out directly works.
Not mailshots think tailored emails or even a letter.
When did you last get a well written letter in business?
Do it enough and you’ll get through to some execs.
7. Create a reputation as the “Go To” expert in your area.
Create relationships with other executives and influential people and put them together in your presence or not.
Make sure anything you put forth is of the highest quality. All of these signal you’re in the right league.