Imagine you’re a pilot landing a plane. A long runway is obviously better than a short one since it gives you more wiggle room to adjust your approach. When you are tasked with landing on a short strip of runway, you must be far more meticulous about your movements to bring the plane down safely. I often use this metaphor to describe the difference between reaching out to a manager- or junior-level buyer as opposed to a C-level executive. When a salesperson sends a message to a lower-level prospect, they can afford to try a stronger ask at first, and then tweak it or scale back as necessary. But when you’re pitching to a CEO, you really only have one shot to engage them. Bungle the ask and you miss the runway entirely.