Getting the big boss to sign off on your event plans is no walk in the park. People in top management are conditioned to nitpick every little idea you have and every step you take because that’s their job. In addition, these individuals tend to be highly competitive, hate excuses, and want concrete plans laid out in detail.
All these traits make them a challenge to approach, especially if you are asking them for resources. Add the fact that the bosses are always busy, so getting them to sit down and listen to you or read your proposal is an opportunity that you shouldn’t mess up. If you find yourself in this position, don’t lose hope. There are ways to present your event plans to the top brass in a way that on the level of their expectations. How do you pitch your plan to a reluctant CEO? Here are 5 tips.
- Identify how the event aligns with the company’s goals
Every CEO is concerned about the company’s bottom line, so you have to be clear about the resources and time that will be expended for this project. It would nice to point out, too, if the event will turn a profit for the company, if not in terms of cash, in terms of exposure and marketing leverage.Some of the key areas that CEOs will be looking at before giving your event a green light is if it will boost customer numbers or encourage retention, or if it will help increase your market share. Will it bring in more funding for the firm? Will it boost shareholder value? How will it factor into enhanced organizational efficiency? Will it improve the public’s view of your brand? Will it help your company be more popular in its target market?
- Know your CEO
You can’t just pitch your event idea to someone you don’t know. If this is your first time meeting the boss, try to research on his or her preferences and business priorities early, so you know how to craft your pitch in a way that aligns with these. Also, CEOs are usually focused on how a project will bring in revenue and new opportunities for the firm. CEOs are also concerned with growing trends. Chat up their secretaries or the people who work closely with them to get a sense of how they work. This way, when your turn to present comes, you won’t feel as intimidated as when you knew absolutely nothing.Take note that CEOs are different from how the other company executives function so make sure that your proposal is tailor-fit for their goals. To present a contrast, CFOs are usually focused on capital, funding, and profits, while COOs are more concerned about the tactical and day-to-day activities.
- Offer 2 to 4 value propositions
What the main advantages that the company can enjoy from your event? A value proposition can be something tangible, emotional, or self-expressive. Thus, your event proposal should demonstrate how the company or certain sections of the company can benefit, how it addresses a problem, if any, and what type of value it brings to the group. List two to four of these benefits and the build your pitch around these. If you are sending a printed proposal, these values should be listed at the top of the document.
- Be realistic with your forecasts
CEOs (and other executives, for that matter) hate inexactitude. These bosses do not have the time to play guesswork with your event plans, nor do they have the liberty to just risk the company’s manpower and financial resources to a project that has no real goal.While you did already list the advantages the company gains from your event, it is important to present forecasts that are doable and highly realistic. Get data from a previous but similar event to bolster your presentation. Also, avoid making generalized statements and empty promises, like telling your boss that you’ll make millions off the event. Be conservative with your numbers.
- Anticipate objections and be ready with your replies
Bosses are hardwired to ask a lot of questions that will sometimes make YOU doubt yourself. Thus, before that big pitch, be ready with the types of questions and criticism that might be thrown your way so you can craft value-ridden answers that they will eventually say “yes” to. Be careful not to plant these objections into your boss’s head or your risk shooting yourself in the foot.Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear anything from the CEOs office a few days or weeks after you presented your pitch. The boss’s office is busy and your event is probably not in the priority list as of the moment. Or, the boss might be taking some time to digest your presentation and warm up to the idea. Do not hesitate to follow up with his or her team (nicely) after a week or two.