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Selling Up: What Executives Want

August 21    |    Steve Mandel

It's not uncommon for presenters who are not executives to have to upsell or present “upstream.”  The executives might be in your own company or customers of your company. Perhaps you have to present in your Executive Briefing Center to customer executives. Whatever the situation, it's usually high stakes!

Even though you may not be an executive, you must come across in a manner that tells the executives in your audience that you are confident, credible, and someone who understands their world. Here's how to do that:

Demonstrate that you understand their world.

  • Learn everything you can about the executive from the company website, LinkedIn, or any other source.
  • Look at any recent industry presentations they may have given that might give you a hint about how they think and what's important to them.
  • Tune your presentation, so that it responds to what's most important to them.

Exude executive presence.

  • Make sure you begin your presentation with a clear, concise and compelling executive summary that puts the “ask” in the first two minutes of the presentation.
  • Link the executive’s comments to your own to demonstrate your understanding of their thinking.

Carry on an engaging dialogue.

  • Talk about their perspective and feelings on the topic, and ask questions relevant to them.
  • When asked tough questions, be prepared to respond and help resolve difficult issues.


For organizations interested in developing people to communicate with executive presence and earn the confidence of senior-level executives, learn more about Mandel’s Corporate Workshops focused on developing extraordinary presenting, influencing, and collaboration skills.

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