Reaching the Decision Maker

We've all been there. You manage to get your foot in the door, execute a perfect pitch, deliver a killer close . . . and then realize that the person you're speaking to has no decision making power at all. It's a rookie mistake, but the people making it are not always rookies.

Why is Reaching the Decision Maker Important?

You probably teach the sales representatives on your team that one of the first things they should do is make sure they're speaking with the decision maker. Besides wasting their valuable time, pitching to non-decision makers can actually lower their chances of getting to the real decision maker in the company. Unfortunately, the only real decision most gatekeepers can make is a "no." They're well aware of the demands on their bosses' time, and don't usually take kindly to the appearance of a sales representative, no matter how amazing the product. The only way your sales representatives will be able to effectively close their prospects is to make sure that the person they are speaking to is the one who is empowered to say, "yes" to their presentation.

So how can you help your sales representatives to be successful in reaching the decision maker? Here are some key steps.

Do Your Homework

Rather than flying in blind, if possible your sales representatives should try to find out who is the appropriate decision maker before knocking the door. You already teach them in your sales meetings what job title the decision maker should have (e.g. IT Director, Marketing Manager, small business owner, etc.). So finding out who that person is in the target company can be as simple as visiting the company website. If the website doesn't exist, or doesn't list the decision maker, a simple Google search can often accomplish the same goal by turning up a press release, newspaper article, or something else about the company that mentions the decision maker's name and title.

Be Nice to the Gatekeeper

No, the secretary, personal assistant, or cashier isn't the person your sales representatives want to talk to. But he or she might be the one thing standing between them and their target contact. Remind your team to be nice to the gatekeeper, even as they are assertive and persistent. Most gatekeepers do have at least some degree of discretion over who gets a lucky break, and even if they cannot directly allow access to your sales representatives, they may be able to provide crucial information. Teach your sales representatives to always be professional, to treat gatekeepers with respect, and to not wait to turn on the charm. Gaining the trust of the gatekeeper puts them one step closer to the decision maker.

Confirm Decision Maker Status

Even after one of your sales representatives secures a meeting with someone who has the right job title, it's important to start out by confirming that the person they're speaking with is actually empowered to make the decision about whether to buy the product or service. The best way to do that is by starting out with questions like this:

  • Are you in charge of the budget for your organization/department?
  • Are you the one who would make the decision to purchase this type of product/service?
  • Is there anyone else who would need to be consulted or involved in the decision of whether to purchase?
  • What process do you normally use to make a purchasing decision of this type?

Only after your sales representative has confirmed that the person with whom he or she is speaking is indeed the correct decision maker should he or she move on to the next phase of the sales presentation.

Here at Netpique sales outsourcing, we train our sales representatives to always pitch directly to the decision maker. If you need help developing a comprehensive sales training program, or think your organization might benefit from  having an outsourced sales team to augment your current sales efforts, contact us for a free consultation today!