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Raise the MPS Bar: How to Work with the C-Suite

2 Feb, 2015

Working with the C-Suite is one of the higher accomplishments of our industry.  Depending on your experience and success:  (1) You already work with executives, and know everything – congratulations; (2) You want to work with the executives, yet feel uncomfortable or even intimidated; (3) You already work with executives yet want to learn more (*thus for 2 and 3, come to our session at ITEX ‘15). 

A company leader’s most precious resource is time.  When an executive agrees to share this precious resource with you, then you must value each minute and not waste one second.  This is your best chance; meaning this is your real chance to elevate the conversation, deliver your approach, and gain needed differentiation.

Earn Respect -

Earning respect with company executives is critical, and this process begins well before the meeting. 

Consider four areas:

  1. Positioning - Discuss positioning yourself as a peer; no one is over or under the other. 
  2. Self Perception - This starts and ends with how you view yourself.  
  3. Knowledge - You’ve got to believe your knowledge has real value, and vice versa; their knowledge has value for you. The acumen you possess is developed and not gleaned from annual sales training, weekly classes or something read on the inter-web.
  4. Past Success - Talk about various business situations and relate stories of your past that offer relatable insights.  This is more interesting for both you and your prospect.

Results –

This may sound counter-intuitive, but the easiest way to earn respect from an executive is to not talk about (current) MPS, but rather, talk about the results achieved with your past MPS solutions. 

According to the Outsourcing Institute, the top 10 reasons why companies outsource:

1.         Improve Company Focus

2.         Access to World-Class Capabilities

3.         Accelerate Re-engineering Benefits

4.         Share Risks

5.         Free Resources for Other Purposes

6.         Make Capital Funds Available

7.         Cash Infusion

8.         Reduce and Control Operating Costs

9.         Resources Not Available Internally

10.       Function Difficult to Manage or Out of Control 

There is not one C-level executive who cares about what model of printer you are selling, your delivery process, toner yields, or single invoice, etc.  C-level decision makers are looking for ways to improve their business’ bottom line; and there’s a high chance it’s one of or related to the 10 reasons listed.  You need to focus on obtaining or delivering real results for the C-level executive.

Unique Strengths –

Company executives have vision and hold the keys to unlocking the future of their company.  Every decision they make must contribute to the company's potential, including your solution. Your strength, relative to C-Suite issues, relationships and perceptions, will continue the conversation you want, or close doors. 

Managed print services, whether it’s auto-toner fulfillment, remote meter reads, or proactive dispatching, are not unique strengths.  Your unique strengths are all around you; you just have to recognize them and share. Let’s discuss how to aligning unique strengths.

Consultant/Advisor –

This is the ultimate level of conversation, the point when your prospect thinks of you shoulder to shoulder, not just a vendor.  To get to this point, you must be approachable, have vision, possess business knowledge, and carry yourself with confidence.

For example, we've owned our own company for more than two years now, and have talked with dozens of sales people. The reps that talk about what they do without any relevance to our business, we dismiss immediately.  Sometimes it goes further just to see how they respond, but the results are the same – nothing. 

Then there are the reps that get it.  These professionals have taken the time to understand who we are, what we are doing, and have gained a sense of why a conversation about what they do will add value to what we do every day.  These reps are the ones we listen to, relate to, and the ones we do business with.

Ask yourself, isn’t it time to learn through experience, how to broaden your MPS practice by building a team that connects with the C-level?  Let’s raise the MPS bar together.

For detailed information and further insights on how to effectively work with the C-Suite and raising the MPS bar, join us at the ITEX Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where on March 12, we’ll share more actionable strategies in our dedicated conference session.



Greg Walters is President of Greg Walters, Inc., a bold consulting & content creation firm helping companies optimize their processes. From website enhancements and bare metal rebuilds, to mentoring and closing deals with company sales teams, including “Orion,” an integrated application of web site construction & enhancement services, cutting edge video & podcast production, web event hosting & promotion, proactive web-discovery optimization, and "Aurora,” an integrated, self-standing Stage Five managed print services program designed to  optimize MPS processes, providing service & billing infrastructure, sales training, digital workflow & print server optimization, without the overhead.

Jennifer Shutwell is President and owner of Shutwell Dynamics Inc., a company that inspires creativity and provides assessment and consultations to those in the midst of challenging transformations. She is known for her keen insights, strategy, and recommendations for easier transition by simplifying the complex. 

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