To be highly successful in sales and in business, you need to be able to approach and confidently sell to very powerful and successful business leaders. You will probably find that anybody who is self-made and has become extremely successful did so by approaching and selling their product, service or idea to very successful business leaders.

However, we often feel great fear and anxiety when in comes to approaching and selling to very powerful and successful people, such as setting a business meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, especially when that person does not know you and you have not yet reached a high level of success.

But, the truth is that everyone feels some fear and anxiety when talking to a powerful business person. Fear of failure or rejection is a natural human instinct, especially when you interact with someone who has high success or status.

Wherever you are on the business food chain, you may find yourself needing to speak with a much more powerful person to ask for a meeting, request an investment, or to make a sale. Being able to be relaxed, confident and assertive with highly successful business people will be your key to getting ahead in the business world.

In order to decrease your fear and greatly increase your chance for success, ask yourself these five questions and then make a few small adjustments in your attitude and your approach.

1. What am I afraid of?

Some folks call it nerves, others call it anxiety. Whatever you call it – once you name it, it becomes easier to get over it. Maybe you see the powerful person as having much more value than yourself, or maybe you had someone reject a proposal once before. It’s imperative to acknowledge your fear and ask yourself specifically what you’re afraid of. 

2. How can I prepare for it?

Once you’ve named your fear, you can face it and take steps to deal with it. Start by being prepared for the interaction with as much background knowledge as you can obtain before the meeting. Being ready before the meeting or discussion will increase your confidence. Next, relax and use strong body language to convey your confidence. Stand up tall, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact.

3. What should I focus on?

Don’t focus on the fear. Instead, focus on the person and what you might have in common with them. Remember that this person is human, too, and they were probably once in your very shoes. Don’t focus on their power. Instead, focus on the positive things that you might learn from this interaction. We tend to place a power label on people when they have an important job or social position, but that label is created in our own heads.

4. What is the worst that can happen?

Don’t let fear stop you from success. Have someone you trust help you by asking you this very question. Clarity is important here. Most of the fears in your head are irrational and once you state them aloud, you can dissect them. Tell him or her your fears, and try and describe any possible outcomes. It will help you find the clarity to take a “no risk-no gain” attitude. 

5. How can I take action?

Fear is not all bad. It drives us to compete, work hard, and perform. In fact, a little fear can actually give you the adrenaline to perform well under pressure. Use this knowledge to motivate yourself into action. Ask yourself these questions, and find the courage to face your fear and use it to adjust your attitude. Then, you’ll be ready to approach any power player.

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