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Dealing with the RIGHT Decision Maker

Aug 17, 2007
If you look at your forecasting for the rest of the year and wonder how many of the deals you're working on have closed, don't think you are alone. As frustrating as it may be, a large percentage of your current prospects will more than likely not turn into a sale by the end of the year. However, we continue to call on and try to sell to those who we know we are not going to be able to close.

If you are interested in getting some of your deals moving, to get them through the sales process or to end the relationship, follow the steps below.

There are several type of individuals that we deal with in any selling situation. They are the following:

The Approver: This is the person that most of us wish we could start with, but we cannot always get access to them. They typically are at the top of the company and they have full decision making authority. They can accept or reject what you are proposing without anyone else's approval.

The Decision Maker: This person is usually one step below the Approver. This individual may hold titles such as CFO, CTO, CIO, COO etc. They will give you the false impression that they can buy, when in reality, they cannot say "no". The Decision Maker will not resist the approver. When all is said and done, the Decision Maker have to say "yes". So, if you don't win the business, someone else is going to!

The Influencer: There are several influencers in the buying decision. Their job is to give guidance and suggestions to the decision maker by providing them with feedback and evaluation results. Individuals in this area typically have impressive titles, however their advice can be taken or ignored; keep this in mind when planning your sales approach.

The Recommender: These individuals are usually the general staff of the organization, and at some points they are asked to look at the feedback the influencers are passing up the chain of command. Sometimes they are on a committee or a team that will evaluate your suggestions or proposal for moving things forward.

Finally, take a look at your sales forecast. Go ahead and write down a 1 for Approver, 2 for Decision Maker, 3 for Influencer, and 4 for Recommender for every prospect that you are currently working with. Now, follow the suggestions:
1)Add up the total number of 3's and 4's and write that number down.
2)Add up the 2's and put that number down. (decision makers)
3)Add up the 1's and put that number down. (approvers)

I would be willing to guess that the majority of the people you are dealing with are I's and R's (3, 4). If you would like to close more deals and move forward on prospects that may never buy, you need to do something very simple. You need to go one step beyond where you are right now. By dealing with the appropriate decision maker, you will be able to quickly determine whether your product/service is something that they are going to move forward with. By doing this you will also be able to determine, which prospects are worth spending your time on and which prospects you should let go.
About the Author
Tim Hagen, President of Sales Progress LLC, builds programs to help organizations increase sales. He has been doing this for 21 years and has helped both small and large size organizations increase their bottom line. He can be reached at http://www.SalesProgress.com or 262-240-1077.
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