Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

What everybody needs to know about Decision Makers

One of the keys to successful selling, is to spend as much time as possible speaking with decision makers.

decision makers

Business is all about people and it’s important to build relationships with all kinds of people, regardless of their position or influence.

What this post focuses on is specifically the relationships we build with prospective clients or customers. Why? Because in order for you to sell your products or services, you need to be speaking with people, who have the authority to make decisions. In marketing, these people are (rather unimaginatively) referred to as decision makers.

The decision maker challenge

Small business owners often find themselves in the thankless trap, of trying to sell an idea to someone who lacks the authority to make a purchasing decision. At best, a non decision maker will tell the decision maker what they can recall from your conversation; often missing key elements out. In most cases they won’t even do that.

So, given the ineffectiveness of speaking with the wrong people, why does it happen so often? Here are a couple of common reasons.

1. Shielded decision makers

That decision maker you need to speak with, is possibly of huge interest to hundreds or thousands of other people too. She is getting pestered with emails, calls and introductions from strangers every day, so needs to be shielded by her team in order to get her work done!

As I show in my audio program, you can get the attention of decision makers and motivate them to want to speak with you, but it requires the correct strategy.

2. Misleading job titles

You can waste a lot of time trying to sell to someone whose job title makes them sound like a decision maker, when they have no real authority.

There are some heads of department, who are the head in name only. There are some company directors who don’t actually direct anything of real importance. This is why you must never allow a lofty job title to fool you into assuming anything. If you are in any doubt, ask them who is responsible for (whatever) within their company.

Senior influencers

Just because someone is not a decision maker, does not mean they lack influence. Far from it in fact!

Some great people will lack the authority to sign your contract, but their judgement is valued so highly within the company that they can influence the decision maker to do it. We call these people senior influencers and they are wonderful people to do business with. I’ve met senior influencers whose judgement is respected in decisions worth millions, so we overlook them at our peril.

Sealing the deal

Ultimately, there are many interesting people to connect with at every level in business. However, in order for you to make a sale, clinch a deal or earn a new client, you need to be speaking with either a decision maker or senior influencer. Keeping that in mind from the very start of the marketing and sales process, will keep you on track and save you time and money too.

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Jim Connolly

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3 Comments

  1. I’d add another one to that list, which is people who string you along with Bullshit.

    I wasted months last summer speaking with someone who said he was the decision maker but wasn’t.

    Thanks.

    Charlie

  2. Finding the decision maker will make your job a lot easier when cold calling. Turns it from a cold call to what I would like to call a warm call. Finding the DM within a company those is harder than it seems (A true art form in my opinion).

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