It often happens that we are trying to influence a person who doesn’t turn out to be the decision-maker in the department or business.
It might be that this is the person who influences the decision but isn’t the final decision-maker.
What would be the best approach here?
Many salespeople, when they find out the person they are talking to isn’t the right person, ask if they can speak to that person.
‘Can you put me in touch with your boss?’ or ‘When would the decision-maker be available?’ are common questions that bring the conversation to an abrupt halt.
You still need this person on your side, so you don’t want to belittle, patronise or embarrass them by asking to go over their head.
This person can actually be very helpful to you in the sales process.
You can find out what they consider to be the biggest factors that drive success in the area you are working in.
If you’re selling software packages, for example, you can ask what they current system isn’t doing and what changes this person would like to see.
If you’re selling finance packages, you can ascertain what this person feels would be the best way forward for their business when dealing with your financial products.
That way, you get them on your side and you also get information the final decision-maker may not be aware of, especially if the person you’re talking with is an end-user of your products.
When you’ve uncovered what is important to the business, you could ask what would be the best way to progress this.
They may say that you need to discuss this with…… and the door is now open to approach that person.
Plus, you’ve got some really useful information to take to the decision-maker from the person you have been talking to.
Remember, there is no need to present solutions to this non-decision-maker.
You just need to highlight what pain points they are currently facing or opportunities they may build on in the future.
You want the non-decision-maker to feel your offering may well be right for the business, and this allows you to get them on your side when they introduce you to the real decision-making level within the company.
So resist the temptation to miss out key people in the process.
Instead, work with them so you have supporters in the business that will help you to achieve a successful introduction to the people who will be able to make decisions.