"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest".
~ Paul Simon
What happens when you finally get in front of your perfect prospect - The head honcho, the decision maker, the type A personality at the top, the man or woman in the C Suite? Whether it be an interview, a sales presentation or simply an opportunity in the elevator to make your case - what do you say? You need to get their attention or you will crash and burn just like the majority that have gone before.
Most people go with the line from the Simon and Garfunkle classic above. They wiggle a little bit until they can find something that the honcho wants to hear and leverage that as their starting point. Ok it can work for a while - but most experienced business leaders see through it and inevitably within thirty seconds they have tuned in to their favorite radio station. You know the one. The classical station.
WIIFM ~ (What's in it for me?). So what should you do when you come up against the best of the best - the leaders of industry and captains of the corporate realm? How should you kick things off?
Ask a few simple questions about their lives, what they've learned - what challenges they've faced and what they wished they knew at your age. Then drill down to the specific questions about what they want to achieve and why you are there. Yes it's sometimes perceived as blatant pandering and they certainly know what you are doing but it's better than the other stuff. The one that says talk about your stuff.
Believe me, you may think getting to your value proposition right away is smart and appreciated but the truth is ~ He already knows that stuff.
But most people go this route - the features, benefits and what we can do route. The 'why we are special' route. He's heard that one time after time. Trust me - he wants to talk- not hear what you've learned.
Let him talk. ~ Ask a few good questions and let him ask you stuff.
The higher you pitch up the achievement ladder keep one rule in mind. Start and diligently maintain your relationship with an earnest desire to learn. This will truly differentiate you. Ask Questions, Listen and Learn.