In every account, there are decision makers and hidden influencers. It’s up to you, as the business owner or sales representative, to find out who they are, and to get your information in front of them. Not knowing who the decision makers and hidden influencers are within an account is like driving in the dark without your headlights. Needless to say, you’re not going to get very far.
Always start high.
Some people start at the top with the decision maker, and when they don’t get anywhere with him or her, they jump down to the hidden influencers, build the business case with the influencers, and then have the influencers circle back and bring their findings to the decision maker. Other people may start with a department head i.e. legal, accounting, or IT, and build their case up from there, but you need to stay focused and engaged on being sure that you get in front of the decision makers or hidden influencers, because ultimately those are the people that are going to ensure that the contract gets signed.
No deal is ever locked.
You may have even been in a position where you thought you had the deal locked up because you were working so well with a non-decision making person, only to find out that the deal gets signed with another company because they were actually dealing with the right people that were able to make the decisions. Listen, everyone gets burned once, but the faster you learn to flush out the decision makers and hidden influencers, the faster you’re going to have the opportunity to get in front of them with your information and lock in the deal. The idea is to find the right people within an account, find out what’s important to them, get your information in front of them that solves their problem, find out what they’re objections are to what you’re presenting, and then lock in the deal. This is sales 101 at its best.
Knowing what to do is important.
Sales isn’t difficult when you know what to do and how to do it. What makes sales difficult is when a sales rep doesn’t have enough industry knowledge i.e. they’re new to the market segment, they haven’t been offered proper training, or they’re just lazy and think they’re going to get by just knowing what they know. This is ridiculous type thinking, and if you’re a business owner that doesn’t have market segment knowledge, stop what you’re doing and go out and get it before you invest any more money in building your business. Then make sure you get all your sales reps trained as well. There’s nothing worse than a buyer sitting in front of a seller and them thinking, “This sales rep has no idea what in the world they’re talking about.” You want to talk about an immediate deal killer, that’s one of the biggest ones.
Business owners and sales reps need to be savvy and need to be up on the latest trends, law changes, and anything else relative to the buyer. Be the authoritative resource that shares ultra-valuable information and helps put money back in your client’s pockets. Lastly, decision makers and hidden influencers don’t like to waste time. Just get to the point with the important information you have, and how it’s going to help them, and be ready to close the deal. Just because it took someone months to close a deal, doesn’t mean that it’s going to take that long for you to get the same deal done. Go into every situation with the intent to close. Don’t be brash or overbearing, just be in control and let them know that you’re going to provide the best solution, for the most reasonable cost, with the best support that they can count on. Be prepared. Decision makers and hidden influencers can make decisions on the spot. If you’re not ready to get the deal done, and they are, they may just pass you by and forget about you and move onto the next big thing. You have to strike while the iron is hot.
Lots of great info here, but you need to put it into action for it to work. Remember, find out who the decision makers and hidden influencers are in an account, and do everything you can to get in front of them. Dump the excuses that you’re not able to, or that it’s just too hard, and just go out and do it instead. New relationships are formed every second of the day, so if someone else can do it, you can do it as well.