How many of you can honestly say you are able to reach the decision maker in any company? Many can, but for those that struggle, this article is for you!
This article touches two areas: Decision Makers, and Pain Issues. I will also show some effective tactics to use that will help reach your ultimate goal, the Decision Maker. In an upcoming article, I will discuss the Gatekeepers in a company.
I mentioned pain issues in the previous paragraph so let’s start there and work backwards. In today’s economy, unless you have a compelling solution to a business’ pain points, you have no right to call on that business. You must earn that right. Think about that for a moment. This is exactly how you will be viewed until you establish creditability. This link shows a diagram that pinpoints the moment in an organization when change happens.
There are three elements of pain common in any organization:
- Every organization has it
- Every organization wants to remove it
- Every organization down plays the severity
So how do you or I earn that right to call upon that business? You do so by pre-planning your call with sufficient facts and knowledge of that company’s business structure. This is the very reason I (strongly) advocate having a plan.
So how do you or I gain the insight to a business? Some think just having a plan is the magic bullet; it’s not, rather it is part of a sales process you should be following. I have used the following without exception to gain the necessary insight to a company:
- Call the company’s competitors and ask your questions of them
This does two things. First, you get to practice on someone live that isn’t your target. The last thing you want to happen is to blow your chance at your target. Second, you might just generate an interest with this company wanting to gain a competitive advantage. You could easily be on your way to selling to two companies!
The Decision Maker:
Regardless of the organization, someone IS the decision maker. This can include more than one so remember one of the first things you need to ascertain is the buying process. Revealing this early on gives you time to plan your strategy. But remember one important item: There may (and usually is) an unnamed party that can veto the entire process.
There are generally two ways you reach the decision maker; first contact or being directed to them through working your way through the organization. If nothing else, remember this: high-level direct contact has the highest success rate than starting at the lower lever. If you start lower, you have for all intent and purposes, created a ceiling for yourself that is hard to break through. The lesson here is to start high.
With that said, once reaching the decision maker you generally have about 20-30 seconds to make your case before their mind has placed you on the friend-or-foe list. The higher up you are is inversely proportional to the amount of time you have to speak. This is the moment that all your planning, practice, and facts had better be second nature to you when you begin to speak.
Lastly, if you are called by a lower-level person in an organization, it doesn’t mean you need or if should call him back first. Rather, if you have contacts there try them first, and then call the low-level person back. Or, if this client is strategic enough, have a member of your executive management make the call to a higher level while you in tandem call the low-level person back. This accomplishes two things. First, your executive management calling is a peer-to-peer call. This call will have a greater chance of success. Second, you have satisfied the low-level person’s request for a call-back while your management sets up a possible meeting.
Whatever the method used to reach the decision maker, your tactics used should never be viewed as condescending, manipulative, or arrogant. You are seeking a trust level, nothing more at this point.
If you find this useful, Contact Me or please leave a comment. If you have a Twitter account and found this article useful, it would be much appreciated if you would retweet this at the beginning of the article!
Hey Ed, I like your ideas on pain in an organization. Things may look complicated, but it all comes down to those three.
Your idea of calling on the competitor to practice is a new one on me and very ingenious idea.
Great article. I had a sales deal that more than one decision maker involved. There was a lot of fighting so I just let it ride until it worked itself out. I hate those kind of deals!
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