Every salesperson is taught early in their career that to be successful you have to get to the decision maker. In today’s difficult economic environment this is truer than ever before. First line managers that often made decisions in the past now need to get executive approval for even small purchases. Sales people know this and are now making an even greater effort to get to the decision maker. But they need to be careful not to ignore others who can impact the decision process or become part of the process late in the game. Have you ever experienced the following?
You have been interacting with the key decision makers for several months and you have been called in for a final meeting. You are confident they will be moving forward and your sole objective is to close the business. When you arrive two new people are in the room. You have never met them before and you are not sure why they are part of the meeting. Certainly they are not making the decision because you have been dealing with the senior management for some time. So you proceed to do your final presentation then ask the management you have been working with if they have any questions, but you do not specifically ask the two newcomers. You see no reason to engage them and that may end up being a “Big mistake.”
While the newcomers are not specifically responsible for making the decision about your product or service, they could actually be the supporters and users of your offering. The management team has not specifically asked them to make the decision, but they are interested in knowing what the newcomers think about your proposal. Now that you have alienated them during the presentation what do you think they are going to say when asked about their position? You may have lost this deal.
Customer relationship management is all about building a level of trust among management and the user community that you are selling to. In your drive to get to the decision maker, make sure you engage others who may play a bigger role in the decision than you think.
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