Influencing A Remote Decision Maker

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Mid-adult businessman making difficult decision looking at screeI received this question yesterday from one of my subscribers to my weekly sales tips:

“Hi Sean,

I have been coming up against a regular objection lately from my prospects and if you could offer some advice I would be most grateful!

When trying to close prospects they are regularly telling me that they wish to go ahead, however they have to convince decision makers who sit above them. I have offered to speak to/meet with these decision makers to help the decision making process, but this is rarely accepted.

I am sure that in some cases the ‘I need permission from a colleague’ excuse is a smokescreen, but I am also confident that it is a genuine reason in some instances.

Any help you can offer would be well received!”

My thoughts on this:

There are a couple of things to take into consideration with this.

Firstly, yes, you are right on some occassions it will be a smokescreen. That’s just how some people are wired.

But early on in the meeting/qualification you need to establish who the decision maker is and find out the type of person they are. Because what you are doing is a “sell for the sell”

You need to arm your “allie” with the tools, the knowledge and the correct approach to convince the DM.

So, the position you need to get yourself into is when your “allie” says “Yes, this is right for us. All I need to do now is to convince Mr/Mrs X”

Once you hear that it’s now time to switch into sales coaching mode!

You have to coach the prospect on how they are going to sell the idea to the decision maker.

What are their key drivers?
What type of personality do they have?
Why your product/service?
etc etc

You need to also focus on “what’s in it for your allie?” They ultimately want to look good in front of the decision maker so help them to achieve this.

It’s a complex subject that deserves a lot more time spent over it but you need to facilitate the decision making process and help your key influencer to indeed influence the ultimate decision maker.

So, remember:

You need to set up a sale for the sale!


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Originally published: 25 January, 2010