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Sell to the CEO! Can You Win the GAME?

Sales managers always tell you to "call high!" But do you know how get a meeting with a CEO? Or what to say when you actually have the meeting?

Here's an simulation to test if you've got the mojo you'll need to "call high." Make your move-- but watch out! There are plenty of ways to lose, but only one way to win.

Scenario: Your sales manager has tasked you to get a meeting, and make a sale, to one of the most powerful CEOs in your target industry. With that in mind...

Honestly (and I mean HONESTLY), how do you feel about your prospects when it comes to making this happen?

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EXCELLENT! MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP!
You've got a realistic assessment of the likelihood of making a sale and just enough confidence to see you through. Now let's check to see if you've got a realistic assessment of the business world.

If someone asked you "what the most important thing to have when selling directly to a CEO?", your answer would be:

  • CLICK HERE for "Management Experience." CEOs want to work with people who understand the challenges that they face as managers. They're more likely to listen to sales professionals who've had some opportunities to experience real management responsibility.
  • CLICK HERE for "An MBA." CEOs respect people who understand the latest theories of business, and understand all the latest concepts in management. There's no better place to learn these things than in a top-quality MBA program.
  • CLICK HERE for "Sales Experience." Selling to a CEO is, well, all about selling, right? If you're going to pitch to a CEO, you'd better feel completely comfortable giving presentations, writing proposals, and schmoozing with the best of them. Practice makes perfect!
OOPS! YOU'RE ASSIGNED TO THE MARKETING GROUP

If you think an MBA is more valuable than sales experience, you've got a seriously skewed sense of what's important in the real world. Very few MBA programs provide any training on sales and most of what they teach is theoretical. This is not to say that an MBA is useless, but only that it's not all that important when your primary job is selling. Sorry!

Click HERE to try again.

EXCELLENT! MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP!

You've got the right attitude and the right resume, you need to have the right product to sell -- one that will appeal to a CEO. Fortunately, your company has a wide range of offerings... and you get to pick which one to sell.

Which product would most likely interest a CEO?

OOPS! YOU'VE BEEN POINTED TO THE PURCHASING DEPARTMENT.
Sure, the CEO is interested in saving money, but that's not the primary focus of the job. The CEO hires people to do keep and eye on cash flow and expense, and seldom worries about the nuts and bolts of cost-saving. That's why you've been sent downstairs. Sorry.

Click HERE to try again.

OOPS! YOU'VE BEEN POINTED TO THE DEPARTMENTAL MANAGER.
Naturally, the CEO cares about bigger revenue numbers, but that's not the primary focus of the job. It's far more important to the CEO to makes certain that the value of the company goes up -- regardless of whether that involves more revenue or not.

In most cases, CEOs have division heads and managers who worry about revenue. That's why you been sent downstairs. Sorry.

Click HERE to try again.

EXCELLENT! MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP!
You've got the right attitude, the right resume and the right product.

Time to go to work! You need an appointment with the CEO. But you don't have a direct contact.

Where do you start in order to get an introduction?

  • Click HERE to use your family connections. With "six degrees of separation" it's highly likely that somebody in your close friends and family know somebody who knows somebody who knows the CEO. Call around and ask!
  • Click HERE to call the CEO's staff. Top CEOs have entourages of staffers who are dying to bring great sales professionals with great products to the attention of the their boss. Find out who they are and start your cold-calling!
  • Click HERE to contact your other customers. When it comes to deciding what makes send for themselves and their firms, CEOs are more likely to listen to their peers than any other source. So get your current customers to make the call for you!
OOP! YOU'VE BEEN INVITED TO THE FAMILY REUNION.
Unfortunately, your family that that a CEO is a cookie made by Nabisco. Sorry.

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OOPS! YOU'VE LANDED IN THE STAFF ROOM.
You've gotten in to see the CEO's staff, whose true job is make sure that nobody--but nobody-- gets in to see the CEO.

Click HERE to try again.

EXCELLENT! MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP!
Your more-than-satisfied customers gave the CEO a call, and now you're set up with an actual live meeting.

This is the moment you've been waiting for and you've got plenty of exciting things to talk about.

Where do you start?

OOPS! YOU'VE BEEN ASSIGNED TO INSIDE SALES.
Sorry. You didn't make the cut. You're more suited to cold-calling and lower-level account development. Don't despair, though. If you're good, you can still make plenty of money. But you just aren't cut out to play the big time...

Click HERE to try again.

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU WIN!
You convinced the CEO that you understood the company and then explained how your product will increase the stock price.

You wisely kept away from executive compensation (always a trick subject) and avoided telling him that his competitors were smarter because they bought from you first.

Most importantly, you didn't bore him with biz-blab about the greatness of your own firm.

Instead, you showed that you understood his company and his challenges, and explained how your offering would increase the stock price.

And you explained why it would be strategic for him to work with you, personally, to make it all happen.

That's the simulation. If you want to read more about selling to CEOs, try:

or
OOPS! YOU'RE AT "MOTIVATION-FEST 2009"
Wow. You've got lots of confidence!

Too much confidence, in fact. If you think that meeting with a CEO and cutting a major deal is an absolute shoe-in, you're in for BIG bruising, because it's just not that easy, even for the world's best sales pros.

However, you've got a great future in motivation speaking.

Go get 'em, Tiger!

Click HERE to try again.