C-Suite Strategies Part III: Adding Value for Time

Welcome to Part III of my four-part series on building relationships in the C-suite. In this article, you’ll learn strategies to add so much value in your executive conversations that after meetings, your clients will consistently think to themselves, “I’d like to get together again and talk.”

I’m sharing this series to inaugurate the release of my popular eLearning program, Building Your Clients for Life, to individual users (see more below).

A single, trusted relationship with an ambitious top executive can supercharge your business growth. However, these are hard connections to build. C-suite leaders are besieged daily by people who want to sell them something, influence them, or obtain a favor. If you learn to add “value for time,” however, you’ll stand out from the competition and be welcomed back. Remember: It’s hard to get a first meeting with a senior executive—and even harder to get the second meeting.

PS If you missed either Part I or II of the series, I’ve provided the links to them at the end.

Value for Time Versus Value for Money

While most middle managers focus on value for money, C-suite executives want value for time. Simply put, they’ve got more people who want to meet with them each day than they have time for. So you need to make an impact, quickly. Here are nine ways to add value for time:

  1. Align to their agenda. What are this executive’s 4-5 most important issues or goals right now? If what you have to say doesn’t connect to this agenda, their attention will wander and they may even cut the meeting short.
  2. Provide insight about the external world. Are you offering valuable (and interesting) information and insights about trends, best practices, customers, markets, competitors, the economy, or government policies?
  3. Provide insight about the internal organization. For an existing client, can you enlarge their perspectives based on your intimate familiarity with their organization and people? Are you able to say, “We’ve been working with your people now for six months, and we’d like to share some improvement ideas with you…”
  4. Understand what’s important right now. Short-term pressures and events often hijack an executive’s long-term agenda. You might ask, “What’s the most important thing we should be discussing today?” or “What’s the most valuable way for us to spend this time?”
  5. Like a great pop song, have an opening hook. You only have a few minutes to grab their attention and get them interested in continuing the dialogue.
  6. Add value in different dimensions. Do you have an idea for them to consider? Can you suggest a valuable introduction to expand their network? Can you help on a personal level in some way? Can you suggest ways for their team to be more effective? Can you review a plan or proposal for them?
  7. Be willing to say “no” and challenge them. In the words of one CEO, “Internally, it’s hard to find trusted advisors who will really challenge me.” Be seen as someone who is willing to say no when it’s in your financial interest to say “yes.”
  8. Have a point of view. Senior executives respect and are drawn to advisors who have a point of view and a well-thought-out perspective on the issues. Blandness is not memorable.
  9. Help them use their time effectively. Don’t confuse quantity of time with quality. If you can help them get more out of their day, or finish a conversation in 30 minutes that others take an hour for, you’ll make an impression.

Two weeks from now, in Part IV of this series, I’ll share strategies for becoming an irresistible “person of interest” to senior executives. Keep an eye out for it in your inbox.


Just released: my Building Your Clients for Life digital learning program.

I’m finally releasing my acclaimed eLearning program, Building Your Clients for Life, to individual users. Until now, only my major corporate clients, which include many top professional service firms and financial institutions, had access to this program. They have found it so useful they’ve put thousands of their professionals through it.

To inaugurate the launch, for a short period I’m giving my subscribers like you a very special discount—1/3 off the normal price of the course. Just use the discount code subscriber when you check out, instead of the code mentioned on the site.

Building Your Clients for Life covers 26 essential client development topics, including 82 individual audio lessons, 27 HD videos, a 166-page workbook, and more. It’s a masterclass in how to build your clients for life, with 15 hours of rich content that you can consume 24/7, from any device. You can go directly to the course site to have look, here.

The feedback about the course from everyone in our group has been exceptionally positive. I personally thought it was brilliant, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the individual sessions. I’ve gotten lots of practical ideas out of it.

James, course participant

I’ve also produced a short video, here, that gives you an overview of the program.

I encourage you to check out this unique program and take advantage of the one-third off deal—remember to use the code subscriber at checkout. BTW: as a special bonus, in addition to the course itself you’ll get to participate in two live Q&A calls with me. Review the program here. I hope to see you there!

Here’s to your success with clients

Andrew Sobel

Founder and CEO, Andrew Sobel Advisors

PS: Here are the links to the previous two articles in this C-suite strategies series:

Part I: Elevating Your Mindset and Gaining Access

Part II: Using Power Questions

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