practical sales wisdom Discover the Decision Maker


when the last decision is made – odds are you will lose the final battle of the sales war without being able to fire one bullet. Those words, “I only need one more approval and the order is yours,” must trigger your response to the prospect – “Great, when do we all meet?” Try this: (In a non-salesy, friendly way), say to the pros- pect, “I’m an expert at what I do, and you’re an expert at what you do. Surely, as you discuss our service, questions about productivity and profitability will arise. I’m sure you agree that the right information needs to be presented so the most intelligent decision can be made. True?” Get a commitment.

Continue with, “And questions might arise about our service. I’d like to be there to answer questions about my expertise so you can make a decision that’s in the best interest of your business.” (If this fails, try adding on the phrase – “Pleeeeaaase, I’ll be your best friend.”) If the prospect – your potential customer – agrees to the meeting, he or she considers you a resource, a partner. They trust you. If they don’t agree, though, that means you’re just a salesperson to them.

When others need to “final approve” the deal, you must take these five action steps or the sale is in jeopardy. 1. Get the prospect’s personal approval. You don’t want

When you’re trying to land an order, failing to find the real decision maker means you might as well call it a day. So, when your prospect tells you, “I only need one more ap- proval and the order is yours,” don’t go waving the victory flag and yelling, “For joy, for joy – the order is mine!” Because that one last person your prospect needs to ap-

prove the order is the real decision maker. The boss. The guy you were supposed to be talking to in the first place. The one person who can say, “No,” and there’s no possi- bility of reversing it. Throw some water on yourself, pal. This sale hangs by

a thread – and what are you doing about it? Going home and bragging, “It’s in the bag”? Or saying, over and over, “I hope I get it”? Neither will work. Here’s what to do: Get the prospect to agree to let you attend the final decision meeting. If you’re not present


your prospect – or anyone else – to make your final pitch for you, but you do want their endorsement. Say, “If it was just you, and you didn’t need to confer with anyone else, would you buy?” (The prospect will almost always say yes.) Then ask, “Does this mean you’ll recommend our service to the others?” 2. Get on the prospect’s team. Begin to talk in terms of “we,” “us,” and “the team.” By getting on the prospect’s team, you can get the prospect on your side of the sale. 3. Arrange a meeting with all deciders. Do it any (ethi- cal) way you have to.

4. Know the prime decider in advance. “Tell me a little bit about the others.” (Write down every characteristic.) Try to get the personality traits of the other deciders. 5. Make your entire presentation again. You only have to do this if you want to make the sale. Otherwise, just leave it to the prospect. He thinks he can handle it on his own, and will try his best to convince you of that. If you think you can get around these five steps, think again. (It’s obvious you’re looking for shortcuts or you would have known the buying process in the first place.) If you make the mistake of letting your prospect become a salesperson on your behalf (goes to the boss or group instead of you), you will lose. Most every time.


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