Does Flattery Still Work? Tips To Ace Your Next C-Level Meeting.
Most people equate flattery with BS and I guess technically it can be, but flattery is also achieved when you do the little things to show someone that you care. This might sound really personal but it’s not. As a seasoned executive and serial entrepreneur, I can’t stand people who waste my time. I’m most flattered when I meet with someone who has done their homework on me, my business, and my challenges before they actually meet with me. In my opinion, flattery still works and it’s the best way to help you ace any meeting with a C-Level prospect.
Do your homework
One way you can show how seriously you are taking any meeting with a C-Level prospect is to be prepared. Preparation is actually one of the best forms of flattery for a C-Level prospect as it shows you respect their time.
With so much information online these days, it really doesn’t take a lot of your time to learn about your prospect – find out their experience and previous companies they’ve worked in, check out any articles they’ve written, and review their social media profiles to learn what type of posts they make. All of this information can help you understand the mindset of your prospect as you shape your pitch to them and understand the business value you can bring to them. Most business owners and C-Level executives have a track record, and if you take the effort to do your homework you can find out what that is before your first meeting with them.
The meeting before the meeting
Nobody, and I mean nobody likes to have more meetings than necessary. However, if you are preparing for a large group meeting with a prospective organization, you might want to add an additional pre-meeting to the list. You’ll need to identify who out of the group is your champion, that person that really wants to partner with you, or the one that understands the most about why the engagement is needed. The champion may not always be the final decision maker.
Once you identify the champion from doing your homework, you’ll want to schedule an information gathering meeting with them. Be very transparent about the purpose which is trying to understand better who will be in the room at the main meeting, what each person’s goals are, and the best flow of the meeting to make the best use of everyone’s time.
By understanding who will be in the room, you can try to identify the pain points for each person and the group they represent. Understanding the audience is critical in assessing what really matters to them and framing the structure of the main meeting.
Getting a lot of this information at the pre-meeting will make the main meeting more productive for everyone and show that your company takes the effort needed to understand their business. This type of flattery will go a long way.
Have a consulting mindset
Everyone loves free consulting! When you have that meeting, you should have done enough homework and preparation to be able to offer something for free during the meeting. Whether it’s analysis of their data, sample refresh of one of their websites, you get the point. Depending on your specialty, see if there is something low cost to you that shows how you can add value to their company.
During the meeting, make sure that you are asking more questions and letting the prospects talk more than you. This is not your time to shine or to show how smart you are. This is the time to be a consultant and really get to the bottom of each person’s pain points so that you can propose to them how you are going to lessen their pain and impact their bottom line. Your goal in the meeting is to have them walk away feeling like they were consulterd with and not sold to.
I think flattery still works, just remember to think about it in a professional context tied to preparation. Know your audience and use information freely available to you to better understand their needs and how you can add value to their organization.