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Influencers Invited Sales Blog

The Five Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Stressed man

As a sales professional, you may already be talking to C-Level Executives (CEO, COO, CSO, etc.) and are looking to hone your skills. You may be looking to prospect C-Level leaders and you’re not sure how. Or you may not have considered prospecting C-Level executives and are curious about how this can support your business.

Knowing the four types of executives and the five most common mistakes made by salespeople will change the way you approach C-Level leaders and increase your sales success. 

Executives fall into four categories as it relates to what they are looking for during any interaction. It is important that you are able to quickly identify which emotional need they are looking for to exponentially increase the probability of closing the sale. 


Four Types of C-Level Executives

  1. Connection Seeker

They want to know about you personally before they learn more about you professionally. They want to know how they can help their employees, their company, and their community. Their main goal is to connect with people and add value.

  1. Self-Esteem Seeker 

They don’t feel very good about themselves and they want the people around them to make them look good. In order to move forward, they have to respect you; you must be confident and knowledgeable. They need to know that you have everything it takes to make them a hero.

  1. Growth Seeker 

You must do your homework and come fully prepared for every meeting and conversation. They want to know the details, and follow-through is key. If you say you’re going to do something, you must do it or have a very good reason why you didn’t do it and proactively tell them when they can expect it. The most important thing for this type of leader is knowing that your intent is to create win-win solutions.

  1. Significance Seeker 

You must let them know that you know they are awesome. They don’t need your respect; they demand it. They are confident, strong, and driven. They want to know you are someone who can help them reach their goals.


For the purposes of this blog, we provide a high-level overview of the five most common mistakes salespeople make when dealing with C-Suite Leaders. To learn about these mistakes and how to prevent them in more detail, please see our NASP ProSeries program, The Secret to Selling to C-Level.


Mistake #1 – Assuming your agenda is their agenda. 

Prior to your meeting, you must do your research. Determine the challenges they are facing and how you can solve them. The agenda must be all about how you can support them and/or their team.


Mistake #2 – Not making them feel important

Everyone wants to feel important and executives are no different. While you are doing your research to determine their challenges, also look for individual accomplishments you can compliment them on during your meeting. 


Mistake #3 – Sharing more than asking

You’ve heard the saying We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. This is never more important than with C-Level executives. Your job is not to be interesting, it is to be interested in them!


Mistake #4 – Jumping right into strategy

Regardless of which emotional need they are seeking, it is important to build rapport before you jump into strategy. Come to the meeting with confidence and find commonalities that will make them like you and want to listen to your strategy. 


Mistake #5 – Not knowing your outcome

Before any phone call, meeting, or interaction, know your outcome first. Make sure that the outcome is focused on adding value. For example, My outcome for this meeting is to build rapport, show my prospect we can solve their challenge, and get the next meeting. 


To learn more about the four types of C-Level executives and details about avoiding the five common mistakes,  please visit and sign up for the NASP ProSeries program, The Secret To Selling To C-Level.

About the author

Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.

Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.