November 05, 2012Are you meeting with people who can't make the decision to buy your products or services? Do you have trouble gaining access to key decision makers? Are you getting the run around from people who continue to ask for information with no intention of buying anything from you? Gaining access to decision makers is critical to making a sale, and understanding how to do that is a key to success.
Decision makers are typically senior management or leaders in their company or organization, and they employ a wide variety of methods to screen and block sales professionals from getting on their calendar. Making a cold call to a decision maker typically ends in failure. Sales professionals, however, can develop creative ways to navigate an organization and leap these hurdles. The number one way to gain access to decision makers is to have someone in their organization recommend that they meet with you. In fact, 84% of senior executives will usually commit to a meeting if someone in their organization recommends it.
This requires building relationships lower in the organization, and also creating a strong value proposition that motivates the lower level resources to introduce you to decision makers in their company. Spending your time with people lower in the organization allows you to gather information, confirm facts, and formulate ideas and solutions to problems they are having that you can solve. When you do your homework first, meetings with decision makers are much more productive.
It is a key requirement that you fully understand the business goals and objectives of the company so you can explain how your product or service will help them achieve those goals and objectives. Listening intently and asking the right questions will provide you with great insight on challenges and obstacles the company is facing. And demonstrating accountability, which will be evaluated constantly by decision makers, has to be a top priority.
Most senior executives get involved with key purchases very early in the decision making cycle. They are less involved during evaluations of potential solutions, and reassert themselves at the end of the process when a decision needs to be made. This means that if you get a request for proposal you most likely will not get access to a decision maker; and also that some other sales person, who did have access early in the process, is most likely a shoe in to win the business.
Last but not least, decision makers like sales professionals who speak with authority, but don't come off as being arrogant. Expressing your genuine interest in their buying needs, coupled with your knowledge of their industry and business issues, will build trust and credibility. Once this has been established, you'll be invited frequently to meet and consult with decision makers on a regular basis; all of which will lead to increased sales and more money in your pocket!
Dick Jones is the Founder & President of Simply Sales in Alpharetta, Ga. As a 4th generation sales professional, he has over 30 years of experience advising, coaching, consulting and working with small business owners. Office: 770-663-4681, web: www.simplysalesllc.com