Some executive-level customers aim to intimidate customer service or sales professionals just to maintain an upper hand in business relationships. But you can get your point across and build credibility in those situations via three steps.
Customer service professionals may deal with a demanding C-suite type. Or salespeople may face a group of executives who want to intimidate them. Those are very real, everyday business circumstances when it’s extra important for front-line pros to maintain composure, says business expert Nancy Duarte.
These three steps will help you maintain composure:
- Stay focused. Cover only what you’ve been asked to discuss or answer. Avoid trying to wow executives with every great idea or nit-picking fact you know. Answer questions succinctly and thoroughly, asking them if they’d like any more details. Offer three key takeaways from the conversation or presentation.
- Expect interruptions. Top-level executives usually get there by being inquisitive then thinking through decisions. Your conversation with them will be no different — they’ll likely ask questions throughout it. Also, be ready for them to be pulled away from the conversation or presentation early. Offer the most important information first so you’re sure they get what they’ll need most.
- Anticipate the questions. You already know you’ll be questioned, so be sure you know the answers to those questions. When possible, ask colleagues to pelt you with odd or hostile questions to the information you’ll give executives. Then you can be prepared for almost anything they throw your way in the limited time you have together or on the phone.