Recognising Decision Makers

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March 30, 2014
Recognising Decision Makers

Hi and welcome back to my blog, I love this photo and wanted to share with you, I will miss Sydney whilst overseas this week, but can’t wait to see Great Britain and Germany again.

at_blog1My topic for today is all about decision makers and influencers and how they can help you or hinder you in the sales process if not managed correctly.

Remember the good ‘ol days when salespeople could cold call into the C-suite, and it was easier to gain access to the decision makers?  No longer, decision makers are able, if they choose, to isolate themselves with caller ID and other gatekeeper technology. (No, you can’t sweet talk the receptionist or the secretary any more, those days are long gone!). Today, more than ever, we cannot ignore the influencer or “call above” them. But how do you spot an influencer who can in turn lead you to the decision maker?

Properly identifying the decision maker(s) may be the single most important aspect of the sales process. Specifically, you are looking for that person who has the … Money.

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There is probably no worse feeling than coming to the end of the sales process only to find out that your prospect is at best an influencer and is not the final decision maker. You will generally uncover this unfortunate condition when this person tells you “Sorry, they went somewhere else.”  Eh? What? How Come?

Too often we come across the self-proclaimed decision maker. They offer us unsolicited information up front, such as “I carry a lot of weight around here”, or “the CEO and I are mates”. Really? Chances are this person has little influence. Be wary of those who volunteer too much information about their authority.

How do you get past them to the real deal maker? At some point you need to ‘test’ them and their influence. Ask them to do something and see if they can and do live up to their claims. You should also ask what other products or services they’ve brought into the company and how that process worked. If they have not been part of the process of bringing another service and/or don’t work with the C-suite often, try to find a way to be introduced to another contact that would be a better fit.

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Often, when a prospect comes to you to seek out a solution or a service the prospect truly thinks they are the decision maker. Reason being, they will be evaluating all vendors and bringing their decision to the C-Suite. So by that definition they are the decision maker because they are deciding what to recommend. This person is in fact the  recommender or the influencer.  Don’t dismiss this individual, as they are extremely valuable in the sale process. Ask why they are researching a solution and who asked them to do so. Their answer will tell you who the real decision maker is.

Finally, the decision maker, is typically a C-level executive.  They are the person who signs the cheque, who can re-allocate budgets and who can make decisions. Often, the decision maker might delegate the sales process to an influencer until it is further along the track. If this is the case, work with the influencer and keep the CEO in the loop. Show you’re happy to work with them. Regularly check in with the decision maker to keep your contact and access live.

Influencers are imperative to the decision process. Ignore them at your peril.

Til’ the next time…. Andrew

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