14 Common Mistakes in Building C-Suite Relationships

Build Better C-Suite Relationships

By Andrew Sobel

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:

  1. You are not fully prepared and have not done thorough research on the executive and his or her organization.
  2. You try to cover too many agenda items in the meeting (three is the maximum).
  3. The client examples you have used do not resonate and are too generic.
  4. You rely excessively on PowerPoint or other written material and are unable to have an intimate conversation with the client.
  5. You talk too much and the client talks too little.
  6. You try and sell a product or solution rather than creating an interested buyer.
  7. 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.
  8. You do not rapidly align the conversation to the executive’s agenda of critical priorities and goals.
  9. You take too long to get to the point. You must have an opening “hook.”
  10. You tell (describe statistics about your company, talk about methodologies, etc.) instead of show (share short client examples, best practices, etc.).
  11. You lack self-confidence, which gets communicated through the words you use, your body language, and your overall attitude.
  12. You take no chances in the conversation and therefore come across as boring and un-memorable.
  13. You focus on your own methodologies rather than exploring the client’s issues.
  14. 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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