Why Target Decision Makers First?

Why Target Decision Makers First?

Target Decision Makers

Why is dealing with decision makers important? It is always easier to start at the decision-making-level of a company or organization and be delegated down than it is to start at the bottom and be sponsored up. Why? Traditional low- and mid-level employees maintain existing relationships, but cannot authorize new purchases. For them to sponsor you up the management chain means that they have to put their job or reputation on the line, which most are not willing to do. If they are, it will take them longer because they will work to mitigate their risks first.

To make matters more difficult, the number of decision makers generally increases in proportion to the change, cost or risk of the associated business problem. Thus, you can never assume that the person with whom you are speaking to is the sole decision maker. You must identify all the decision makers and work to address their needs and concerns. Two questions can help: “In addition to yourself, who else is involved in making the decision?” … and “What might their concerns be about moving forward?”  The answers provide the blueprint for your ongoing sales strategy.

Influence the Influencers

What about internal champions and influencers? Champions are people who can advance a cause within an organization. Influencers are people who can move others to action. Many decision makers purchase products and services because people other than the salesperson championed or influenced them to do so; e.g., CFO influenced CIO to favor products with cost reduction capabilities. Persuading champions and influencers to endorse, suggest or use your product or service is always good strategy. Arm them for success. Make them the hero inside their company.

First Buy Signals

Why do decision makers, and champions and influencers to a lesser degree, agree to meet with you? They have a business problem and think that you might be able to help them solve it. This can include them knowing or thinking that they made a mistake deciding on their current vendor. Thus, the decision maker’s first buy signal is agreeing to meet with you. In today’s business world, decision makers do not schedule meetings with salespeople unless they have an active need. If they agree to meet, nine times out of ten they have an active need. Capitalize on it.

When decision makers ask questions, they are also providing buying signals. Decision makers rarely ask general or idle questions. When they ask questions, they are seeking specific information for their evaluation of you, your company or your product. Always be as specific and factual as possible. In addition to questions, company and factory tours are also buy signals. During tours, decision makers elevate you from seller to guest. Again, decision makers are busy and will not take the time to give you a tour unless they want to do business with you.

Eliminate Insincere Bonding

Always maintain equal business status with decision makers; power buys from power. Decision makers are busy and so are you. Eliminate insincere bonding at the start of the relationship by asking questions about awards, pictures, etc. on their desk or wall (you do not care). Ask questions to understand their business problem. Get them to start saying “yes” to your understanding of same and their options for moving forward. This is far more important than wasting time asking about their trip to Lake Tahoe. Bond after the first sales when you both actually care about it.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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