Written by Sean McPheat |
I’ve met many of these in my time; people who give you the impression they can make decisions, go through all the details with you, then frustrate you with the fact they have to get approval from someone else or a committee. Couldn’t you just scream sometimes!
Most of the time, these are people who are information gatherers, where the real buyers don’t have time to deal with salespeople. But the support of these non-buyers can be crucial to your sales efforts. Although they can’t say yes to your proposals, they are inside the company. You’re not. Their ideas and advice could make or break a proposal and, although they might not be able to say yes to you, be totally sure that they can blow it out of the water if they want to.
Remember, if the real decision-maker isn’t meeting with you, there is a reason. It could be that the buffer they are using helps them sift out the poor from the good. And if you try to go over the gatekeeper’s head, you may be making more of a nuisance out of yourself than you want.
Try these steps in dealing with the buyer with no authority:
1) Ask how buying decisions are made: This sniffs out any processes they have to go nthrough before anyone can say ‘yes’ to you. And it resolves those problems where you’re unsure if the person you are talking to can really make the decision or not.
2) Help the person ‘sell’ your products or services up the chain: What benefits will you be offering to the prospect’s company? How better off will they be dealing with you? How can you help the company achieve their goals and objectives? The more you can convince this person, the greater the chances they will ‘sell’ your proposal up the chain.
3) Arrange for a joint call: Suggest that the person will look good by bringing your proposal to the decision-maker’s attention. If you could be involved in a meeting with the decision-maker, you would be seen as the provider of solutions.
4) Make it a no-brainer that the decision-maker should see you. If you are able to convince the gatekeeper that the partnership between your companies will work, you should ‘close’ the gatekeeper with an appointment to see the decision-maker. If that’s not possible, make it so obvious that they will see the benefits by using you, they would be missing bout big-time if they didn’t take it further.
5) Make it easy for the contact: Send her more than one proposal so they can share it with the prospective buyers. Offer to make the presentation for her. Find out when the decision will be made and what decision-making process they will be making. The easier you can make it for them, the more on your side they will be.
Ultimately, you will not change how the company makes their buying decisions, but you may be able to influence their buying process by being the most professional and convincing of the many salespeople they do actually see.
Originally published: 6 April, 2011
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