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Last week, our focus was talking like a CFO. This week, we’re tackling how to talk like a CEO!

You might have heard the phrase: one throat to choke, one back to pat. Well, that’s the CEO of a company. They are responsible for their company in the good and the bad, for better or worse. CEO is a title that a lot of people want, but it comes with a lot of weight.

As an MSP, when you’re talking to your clients in a meeting, the CEO might be trying not to fall asleep. Don’t take this personally, their focus is just mainly on the success of the company at large.

With that information in mind, there is one sure-fire way to get the CEO on your side. Make them look good. Yep, it’s that simple. Let them know how your products and services will make their company excel.

More than half of the CEO’s job is politics — essentially, making their company look good and being responsible with their decisions. They are looking for success, which means you need to let them know how your products and services are going to bring that success.

One thing to keep in mind is that success looks different for every CEO. Just like finding success with a CFO, talking to your client’s CEO is how you can determine how success is measured in their company. It is going to be a moving target, really. You can not take one thing that is important to one CEO and assume that it is going to be the same target that the next CEO is shooting for. Having conversations with each CEO will allow you to aim for the right things.

Another important tip is to get a grip on what the company’s culture is. Knowing what the culture is will allow you to get to the table in front of the CEO seamlessly. Some companies are hierarchical where there is an order of people that you must talk to or go through in order to chat with the CEO. Go through that process and be respectful of the way their business is structured. Other businesses are more of a level playing field and it’s okay to go directly to the CEO or upper-level management. Just be aware of that culture and go through the process of communicating accordingly. If you don’t, the CEO will be much less likely to meet with you at all, or they will choose to skip any meetings going forward.

The last tip we have for you is to learn the CEO’s vision for the company. The CEO is constantly going back to the basics of what the mission and vision of the company are and how you fit into that. Figure out what that vision is and put what you’re bringing to the table in that context.

A great way to do that is to go to your client or potential client’s website and write in your own words what you believe their vision is. In your meeting with the client, ask the CEO to take a look at it and make sure that what you wrote is correct. This will let the CEO know that you understand them and desire to make them look good with your solutions.

The CEO’s opinion is important, so have a listening-focused conversation, learn their measure of success, get a grip on their company culture and understand their CEO’s vision for the company. If you do all of that, you’ll be talking like a CEO and bringing success to you and your client in a heartbeat.

Adam Walter

Written by Adam Walter

Adam has witnessed too many bad QBRs, technology conversations with executives, boring presentations and lengthy quotations. He felt that this is a major obstacle for small businesses to adopt great technologies. He started his own vCIO practice and has grown it into a very lucrative business in a short amount of time focusing only on vCIO offerings to small businesses. He’s been training and crafting materials for MSPs around the world to unlock the potential for MSPs to become business partners. He started his own vCIO practice and has grown to a very lucrative business in a short amount of time focusing only offering vCIO offerings to small businesses. He had been training and crafting materials for MSPs around the world to unlock the potential for MSPs to become business partners.