Speak to the right person… always!

If you’re desperate for making the quota, get this, you won’t. Especially if you keep doing the same things and expect different results.

The other day I spoke about the importance of having a rock-solid sales process, but even the world’s best process won’t save you if you’re speaking to the wrong person. And guess, what, almost 98% of the time you’re not speaking to the person who has the decision-making authority.

The result — you chase their tail them for days, weeks, months and even years only to see them shove their tails between their legs. Just because they didn’t have the authority to make the decision or sign the cheque.

The antidote, of course, is to ensure that your sales process seeks clarity on the key players involved in making the decision. If they say, “it’s just me” or a variant of “the buck stops at me” don’t believe them (unless they are the CEO of the company). You have to investigate, find out who else is involved in the decision-making process. Always. Without any exception.

The wrong way to approach this to bluntly ask, “who is the decision maker” or “are you the decision maker.” While asking that wouldn’t really offend them (or it might, but that’s good because then you can move on to other serious prospects) but it’ll surely activate their egos to get in your way.

Why the hell would anyone say, “no, I’m not the decision maker. Just a cog in the wheel.” Humility is overrated, my friend. Particularly in business development.

You know understand that most prospects who’re not decision makers are out there to justify their presence and have their egos stroked by well-meaning sales professionals (or other vendors). Don’t fall into that trap, because for the most part they’re either seeking free consulting or a competitive quote (for them) they can use to leverage their existing suppliers.

Oh, yeah, that rant about “quality” doesn’t stand a chance to have your prospects change their existing vendors. Even if they purely suck!

I like Alan Weiss’ take on whom to talk:

Never talk about fees until you find out what the client’s real needs are.

Never talk about the client’s real needs until you talk to a true buyer.

It’s that simple. If you quote a fee over the phone to a human resource person you deserve to lose the business.

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