Ever gotten to the end of your sales presentation and heard: “Well, I gotta run this by the boss?” Do you qualify the buyer by finding out who and how decisions are made? Are you comfortable asking to be introduced to the decision maker?
Find The Decision Maker
My mentor Jim Wilson offers this advice:
Whether you are in a living room setting or selling to a Fortune 100 company, it is imperative that you understand the decision-making process completely before you make your presentation. Can you answer these questions?
- Who is involved in the decision-making process?
- Exactly what is the process?
- What is the time frame?
- Once they hear your presentation, are they committed to either a “Yes” or a “No”?
The Hazard Of Not Knowing The Decision Maker
If you make your formal presentation to the person whom you assume is the ultimate decision maker and then find that you were wrong, you will be in deep trouble. Not only will you have to start all over again, but now you may be prevented from actually speaking to the decision maker. Your original contact may do all the presenting for you and it’s very hard for you to handle any objections if you aren’t in the room! Great salespeople know if they are not in front of the decision maker it is unlikely to get the award.
How To Meet The Decision Maker
A simple question can begin the dialogue regarding a prospect’s decision-making process. “Mr. Prospect, assuming my company can solve the problems we just discussed, how will the decision-making process work?” You can even consider asking the decision-making question at the beginning of the meeting, like this, “Mr. Prospect, I assume you agreed to meet with me because you have a need for my service. Is that correct? … Assuming my company can solve this problem for you, how will the decision-making process work?”
Confirm The Decision Making Process
Great salespeople never make a final proposal until they completely understand, and are comfortable with, the prospect’s decision-making process. They have the courage to ask, “Who will be involved in making this decision?” more than once to make sure all the significant players are known. The long and rocky road to “yes” always passes through the “decision maker.”
What You Can Do Right Now
- Ask questions. Question answers. Ask more questions.
- Gently refuse to have someone else present your proposal.
- Find out who will make the decision before you give your presentation. Make sure everyone involved in the decision is included in the presentation.
Don Crawford & Lois Carter Crawford