There are many theories and models how to optimize your sales funnel, score your prospects so that they can be passed to sales when they are “sales ready” and use new technologies to break through the noise. While all of these techniques and processes will help you get closer to closing your sale, there is one fundamental aspect that is often overlooked – the decision maker. Another way of describing this person is as the ‘principal buyer’. It doesn’t matter how high your prospect’s score is if they have no decision-making power.
Unfortunately, getting through gatekeepers, and having conversations with those with decision-making powers, isn’t always easy. There are usually several people involved in the buying process, and the decision maker is often the busiest of all of them. There are some fail-proof techniques that will help you find and connect with this buyer, however, and we’ve outlined three of them here.
Ask Who Makes the Final Buying Decision
The simplest way is usually the right one, and this certainly applies to determining who ultimately makes the buying decision at an organization. You should ask early in the process, and more than once. During your sales qualification process, ask your prospect who ultimately makes the decision about purchasing new products/services in their department. You should ask again in another conversation, as you may get a different answer. You can phrase the question differently, perhaps asking who controls the budget in the department, whether there are other people that need to be involved in the sales meetings, or whether your contact would need to get approval from anyone else to make the decision. Once you start to hear consistent answers, you’ll know who the main buyer is, and that is the first step to reaching them.
Understand All of the Stakeholders and Their Role
It’s often the case that, no matter the product you are selling, you will have multiple stakeholders involved in the buying decision. This makes the process of identifying the main buyer even harder. Usually, there is one person that ultimately controls the budget, but often they are not the person that does the research of finding the right solution. Therefore, while you may successfully identify the person that signs the cheque, you still need to sell to the other stakeholders and meet the qualification criteria of gatekeepers.
Meet with the Decision Maker
Often, the decision maker is a senior level person with limited time for sales meetings, which means that they are the hardest stakeholder to meet with. If you find that you are not able to speak with this buyer in your other sale meetings, ask to meet with them. If you aren’t able to secure a meeting, reach out to the buyer directly. You may need to cold call or email, but it’s critical that you get face time with this person since the deal hinges on it.