Qualify The Decision Maker

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Businessman holing decision making cardHow to Qualify the Decision Maker on a Cold Call

One of the many challenges sales people face in setting appointments on the telephone is qualifying the prospect, which has become a major issue and causes tremendous amounts of lost income and time.

I believe the main problem for this is because most sales people still have a bit of the old Smile and Dial mentally.

It is out of fear that sales people fail to properly qualify or identify the true decision maker and it should be a very important topic in any Telesales Training that you attend.

As an example:

A sales person goes through two dozen cold calls, gets hung up on a few times and finally gets a person on the telephone who sounds like he will listen and whose “title” says he or she may be the Decision Maker – that’s it! Why mess this up? The moment the “good sounding” person gets on the telephone; just set the appointment and get off as soon as possible. This type of shove your story down the throat of anyone who will listen is part of the old-school telemarketing pitch mentally.

Also, many sales people are afraid to ask to verify the Decision Maker because they do not want to introduce such a “buying” question so early in the conversation.

To ask such a direct question so early in the call also exposes the true reason the sales person is calling. “Do you make the buying decisions for shipping services for your company?” That question exposes that you are calling to sell shipping services and many sales peoples are still under that outdated idea to try and hide, disguise and delay their identity and true purpose. They are still trying to bait-the-prospect along; to keep them on the telephone until they can get to the “good part” of the pitch, when the prospect can hear some benefits.

Once again, those days are over!! Be professional and you will set more quality appointments with more qualified prospects.

The best way to qualify the Decision Maker in a cold call is simple: ask the prospect if they are the person who actually makes he decision or makes the purchase of whatever it is that you sell. And do this regardless of the person’s job title or other potential things that signify the prospect may be the true Decision Maker.

In other words, let’s say you sell help desk management software, and your sales model says specifically that it is the “Help Desk Manager” who is the Decision Maker which is usually true. STILL, you should ask everyone; regardless of title if they make the decision. And the reason for this is not only to qualify the prospect technically, but to qualify the prospect psychologically as to their attitude toward you and what you do.

You must ask the prospect if they are the Decision Maker but also explain exactly what you do.

For example, if you sell security management software, you can’t just ask, “Do you make the decisions on software?”

Depending on exactly what you do, the decisions about the product or service can be made by someone else.

Be complete and direct:

Sales Person:
“Yes, Hi Mrs. Prospect, I’m Jo Bloggs from Help Desk Systems and we help companies manage help desk calls across multiple platforms. Do you purchase enterprise wide help desk management software for ABC Financial?”

Here’s another example:

Sales Person:
“I help independent business owners with inventory management. As the owner, do you also make all the decisions on your inventory management and costs?”

Explain exactly what you do and ask the prospect if they handle it and you will qualify the Decision Maker!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 3 May, 2008

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