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How to Present to a CEO


CEOs are typically “what” and “why” decision-makers, so chances are that if they ask you a question during your meeting, it will be something along the lines of “Why do we need to do this?”

how to present to a ceo

Here is how you can preemptively insert that answer into your presentation, because that question comes in two flavors:

  • “Will this upgrade make my organization more valuable?”
  • “Will this upgrade make my organization easier to manage?”

Those questions are important because they are rooted in what the typical CEO is thinking about. Who hires a CEO? The board of directors. They expect the CEO to manage the place. They also expect them to make it more valuable. As a result, CEOs tend to be risk-averse. They might ask questions like:

  • “What could go wrong?”
  • “How do you know the savings estimates are right?”
  • “How confident are you in your cost estimates?”
  • “Do we have to pay for the whole project, then wait for the rebate to arrive, or will you credit us for the anticipated rebate amount up front?”
  • “Would the rebate be taxable?”

The best way to address those concerns is to preemptively include answers to them in your one-page proposal. There’s nothing better than neutralizing a concern before it becomes an objection. Another tactic is asking them for their thoughts on the project, then listening. Pay attention to their tone and choice of words. There is nothing wrong with asking for clarification or saying, “Well, you sound a bit tentative with that answer. Is there something else on your mind?” It’s best to keep things as clear as possible so you don’t encounter any surprises down the road.

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Read more blogs on Sales Success, Sales Presentations, Business Tips, Recession Selling

Posted by Mark Jewell