How do you win in big meetings with C-Level executives?

We asked some of London’s foremost sales leaders how they succeed when it matters most. Let’s find out their secrets.

Last month we staged our 5th Sales Confidence live event at GoCardless HQ London. We had 100 SaaS enthusiasts watching two sales leaders, a consultant and a coach sharing their secrets. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our articles.

Question time

After the last speaker, it was time for questions from the floor. I got the ball rolling with a couple of my own. My first was about self-talk, and you can read about it here. My next was:

‘How do you have ‘presence’ in meeting situations? When you know you’ve got the Exec meeting, what do you do and what don’t you do?’

Marcus Oulds

Marcus is Director, Enterprise for our hosts, GoCardless. Until quite recently he was leading a team at Google. He was happy to kick off.

‘What I learned at Google is that these people are human. They want to know what everyone else wants to know. They just want to know it more succinctly. What is it? What’s the data? What’s it going to do for me?’

‘When you’re with C-Levels, don’t tell them things they already know. Don’t treat them like idiots. You don’t need to explain stuff. Cut the fluff. Their time is important.’

Anna Baird

Our panel’s startup consultant went next.

‘If you’re bringing anyone along, like an executive from your company, assign them a role. Make sure the role you give them takes the conversation in the direction you want to take it.’

Great advice. There’s nothing worse than when the person you’re taking along to help you goes off at a tangent and derails everything! We’ve all been there.

The last piece of advice from Hannah was, ‘Don’t say thank you for their time.’ You can read more about this here.

Hannah Godfrey

Hannah Godfrey, Growth Specialist at Winning By Design, went next.

‘There shouldn’t be that many differences between how between how you speak to an executive and anyone else. If you treat everybody with the respect they deserve, that’s a pretty good mantra for success.’

Martin Tucker

Our final answer came from our super sales coach, Martin.

‘Tell stories with metrics, actual numbers attached to them, to get them engaged.’

‘I actually find talking to C-Level execs easier as there’s less of the flim-flam and technical language. No one is trying to make themselves look more important than they actually are. So, get to the point, and if you’ve got 2 or 3 stories which help to explain what you do, that’s great.’


That was some great advice from our panel there. My point of view is very similar. These guys put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you. They have a job to do, just like you. If you treat everyone the way you like to be treated, you won’t go far wrong. Keeping it concise and to-the-point is excellent advice too.

When you’re preparing for a big meeting, you could try approaching it from the other direction. If you’re not a C-Level Exec yet, maybe one day you will be. When you are, how do you want people to talk to you?

Over to you now. What are your dos and don’ts when you’re in a big meeting? Let us know in the comments down below.

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