"But I'm a young Graduate, how can I talk to a C-level Director as an equal?"
...I was asked on a training workshop this week.
So I put it this way - 'What's the alternative?'
"To put them on a pedestal?"
"Right - and what does that look like?"
"To let them control things, to dominate the conversation?"
"But I'd feel arrogant speaking to a CEO in any other way."
"It would only feel that way at first as you're not used to it - look at it like you're building new confidence muscles.
What feels like arrogance is likely just being more assertive."
"So how do I do it?" he asked.
- pause more
- slow down
- admit when you don't know something
- respectfully pick them up on something if you disagree
- lead them in terms of what you need to understand
- teach them one thing they didn't already know about their industry
- direct next steps
Every one of these steps helps build credibility.
The moment we put C-Level Directors on a pedestal is the moment we lose control.
And as it's what most salespeople do...do the opposite.
A CEO is only human - so treat them as such.
They'll find it refreshing and constructive.
Standing your ground in a respectful way will open up countless opportunities.