One of the keys to successful selling, is to spend as much time as possible speaking with 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.
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.
What tips do you have for working with decision makers or senior influencers? Do you have any experience of wasting time, dealing with the wrong people? Share your thoughts with a comment.
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