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Selling to Decision Makers

By: Colleen Francis

I believe that trying to sell to the decision influencer rather than the decision maker is a colossal waste of time. Yet 90% of sales people do it every day. Don’t invest time in prospects who are not in a position to buy. They will waste your time, sap your energy, use your information, and hold you back. It’s as simple as that. Your job is to put yourself in front of people who can buy and deliver value. Yes, it’s that simple.

Most sales people spend their time selling to people who can recommend. Recommenders are not buyers. Make sure the person you’re dealing with has real power to sign the cheque, spend the money, and implement the solution.

Here are a couple ideas to solve common situations sales people find themselves in:

1. The Web Lead

If you receive a web-based lead, or email lead from your website, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to call the names that arrive on your desk first. I suggest the following approach:

  • Check out the company name for the lead
  • Visit the company website and review the management directory
  • Take a wild guess – who your lead would ultimately report to is easier to identify than you think
  • Call that person first

Call Option #1 – Don’t mention the lead. Simply make your compelling opening statement based on the formula of “Who cares, why us, and so what?”, and ask a question. Use the information in the email or lead to formulate a question so it is tied to what you think the company is looking for. If you hit your mark, your executive will interrupt with “Great timing, we are just launching a project for that.” Continue the conversation by asking questions and securing the appointment.

Call Option #2 – Start the call with, “Mr. Big Wig this is Colleen at Engage. I recently received an inquiry from your XYZ department about our ABC product. In my experience with companies like yours normally these projects are controlled by the VP. Will that be the case with you? {YES} OK, then does it make sense for us to spend some time talking about what your objectives are?”

Your job is to secure a meeting.

Once you have made this call, call your web/email lead.

If you have a meeting with the executive, start with: “Thanks for the inquiry. I have a meeting with VP X set for Monday about this project. How are you involved?”

If you don’t have a meeting try, “Thanks for your inquiry. What inspired you to contact us about X?” Sometime during that conversation mention the executive by name and ask how they are involved. YES, you need to name drop. This will help ensure you always have permission to go to the executive directly.

2. The Call-in

If you take a call-in from a prospect you need to ask a series of questions on that initial call:

  • When is the latest you need to have a solution in place?
  • Who else is affected by this project?
  • How do you suggest we get them involved?

If you suspect that the prospect is withholding information – because they are not revealing any senior employees (VP, C level, etc.), ask:

  • Who ultimately is responsible for this project? or
  • Normally decisions like this one are made at the executive level. Will that be the case with you? or
  • I assume your VP of (engineering, sales, operations, etc.) will be involved too?

Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from year of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line. Start improving your results today with Engage’s online Newsletter Engaging Ideas and a Free 7-day intensive sales eCourse: www.EngageIdeasOnline.com