It’s hard to get the first meeting with a top executive. It’s even harder to get the second meeting. If you don’t make a connection and add value in your conversation—if you don’t light some kind of spark—you’re unlikely to create interest in a relationship with you.
Here are some of the common mistakes I see people making:
- You are not fully prepared and have not done thorough research on the executive and his or her organization.
- You try to cover too many agenda items in the meeting (three is the maximum).
- The client examples you have used do not resonate and are too generic.
- You rely excessively on PowerPoint or other written material and are unable to have an intimate conversation with the client.
- You talk too much and the client talks too little.
- You try and sell a product or solution rather than creating an interested buyer.
- You ask questions that are tedious because they are too general and do not implicitly incorporate knowledge of the client’s strategy, organization, and industry.
- You do not rapidly align the conversation to the executive’s agenda of critical priorities and goals.
- You take too long to get to the point. You must have an opening “hook.”
- You tell (describe statistics about your company, talk about methodologies, etc.) instead of show (share short client examples, best practices, etc.).
- You lack self-confidence, which gets communicated through the words you use, your body language, and your overall attitude.
- You take no chances in the conversation and therefore come across as boring and un-memorable.
- You focus on your own methodologies rather than exploring the client’s issues.
- You allow the executive to prematurely delegate you to follow up with more junior managers, who may very well torpedo your efforts.
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