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How to handle 'the big shot' prospects

You've managed to get an appointment with the big boss, the top dog, the big cheese, the head honcho and you are a little nervous about how you will deal with somebody so important and powerful.

Here are four ideas;

#1 Ask 'How did you get started in this business?'

Frequently the people at the top have had a struggle to get there and rather surprisingly many of them don't have close friends they can really share their glory with. If you inquire and show interest, it is highly likely that they will take pleasure in recounting their story to you.

Don't interrupt while they are doing so; no remarks such as, 'I've done that too.' Let their tale shine a spotlight on the central character; the man or woman themselves.

This idea can transform, 'You've got two minutes' into ten times that much and generate something close to empathy for you.

#2 Take back control by asking questions.

If you have been subjected to a cross examination by the big guy and hardly had a chance to make your presentation, the way to get back control is to ask questions.

A good one to start with is, 'May I ask you a question?' This generally halts the other party's monologue. You can take this further with, 'May I explain some things to you about our company and the product / service?'

#3 Ask about the things that they are proud of.

There is a wide range of possibilities; children, home, career, yacht, travel destinations, ability at sport etc. In other words give the person a chance to boast. Even if they talk about their accomplishment in a modest way, the psychological force still works positively for you.

#4 Present yourself as being in the same mould as him or her.

These dominant types only really like people who are similar to themselves, so the ideal persona to project is 'just like them, but younger or less powerful'.

Whichever tactic you use, don't make your approach too obvious though, a technique spotted is a technique neutralized.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book.

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