The best chance of getting any deal done is to start with the corporate leader and work your way down. Working your way up is like trying to scale a waterfall in rubber shoes. It can be done, but it takes forever and you always find yourself slipping.But how do you get past the phalanx of gatekeepers, starting with the receptionists and hacking your way through to the ultimate gatekeeper -- the administrative assistant? You only have to watch Ugly Betty to know how difficult it is to get a phone call, let alone face time, with leaders. Although you might have their telephone number, you can't just call them up. You need to have a game plan. Here are the components to your plan.
- Mission: What exactly do you need to speak to the CEO for? If it is just to sell insurance or a copier don't waste her time. Your need to speak must have an impact on the top or bottom line. Possibly introduce the leader to a potential employee who has great sales or product development skills.
- Pitch: Most of us get tangled up in our own words when we meet the president of a company. It was clear in our minds what we wanted to say, but because we are nervous, we aren't sure why we are approaching the CEO or what to say. It's good to write down exactly what you want to say and refine it.
- Information: Put together information either in a Word document or a PowerPoint. Make it short and to the point.
- Outcome objective: What is the objective of meeting the CEO? Is it to get more business? Is it an introduction to another person in the organization who you can help? Think about what you would like to get out of the interaction so you are not kicking yourself later for not making the most of your opportunity.