When I asked for help with What does it mean to brief at the CIO level, I got this note by email. I think it is worth reading in entirety. Thank you Robert!
I did a three day how to deal with CXOs course where we were presenting to actual FTSE 100 executives. It was from the point of view of consultants coming into pitch to the board so not all of it would be relevant to an internal team. After the course I pulled together a list for reviewing before going into a top level meeting. After some discussion with other people on the course we ended up with the following.
I have this printed out on a single side of A4 paper for review and read it before any top level meeting.
The single most important of thing to remember is "What is the benefit for the company?" Stop talking about features of the solution and focus on what it will deliver.
The only thing you can ever really sell is yourself
- People do business with people they trust and preferably like
Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
- Anticipate objections and prepare to rebut them
- Empathise with the client and understand their needs
Set an Agenda in advance
- Be specific
- Be prepared to go in a different direction if they want to
- Deliverables are features, CXOs buy benefits
- Talk about what it does for the business and when
- Where have we done this before and what they got out of it?
- Have case studies
- Know the benefit delivered by the study
- There are no shy CXOs
- Act as an equal if you want to be treated as an equal
Start with an icebreaker
- This lets everyone settle down before business
- Helps to build the relationship
- Let them move things to Business
Always do introductions
- Yourself. You may remember them but they see a lot of people
- Company. They have talked to a lot of companies since you were last here
Pay attention to their cues
- Listen for verbal indicators of interest or disinterest
- Watch for body language indicators as well
- Did they just hint at information you should dig for?
- Did they just reference an opportunity you were not aware of?
- Make sure you both had the same meeting
- Confirm follow up action for both sides
Send a thank you
- Courtesy cost nothing and increases chance you will be remembered
- A chance to confirm the next steps in writing
A pair works better than someone flying solo
- One to talk and one to listen/watch
- Someone to help you recover if you fumble