of the all-time mortal enemies of the inside salesperson is the non-decision
maker: Dr. No-Do. This individual is extremely easy to
get on the phone, loves to talk—loves it!—and in the end, after stringing you
along like that yo-yo trick “Walking the Dog,” leaves you high and dry—and
hopefully po’d. And if you’re not po’d
then you can bet there will be more Dr. No-Dos in your immediate future.
wasting valuable time and eating up your patience, Dr. No-Do will confess that
he is not the final decision maker, or–and I think this is worst—you’ll
discover on your own that he doesn’t make the call.
might be thinking: Hey, this is
Sales 101. You always ask the
prospect if he’s the final call.
What’s the big deal here?
big deal is that a lot of people actually believe they’re the final decision
maker, or think they figure in the decision making process. Second, there are many folks who just aren’t straightforward. For example:
you the final decision maker, Jim?”
I’m part of the team that decides on these projects.”
bad salesperson will continue with his pitch. The good salesperson will ask questions. Direct questions. A lot of questions.
ultimately signs off, Jim?”
we all do.”
“Really? The entire team holds the pen and signs
the dotted line?”
that response is a bit sarcastic. Would I use it?
Only if I felt I’d get a smile out of the prospect, or, more
importantly, get a straight answer.
Bill Jones is the person who signs the contract, but you can talk to me.”
I can talk to you, but not for long.
trouble that most salespeople have when deciphering between the Dr. No-Dos of
the business world and the Decision Making Bills is that they fail to ask a lot of direct
questions, and become complacent with the prospect’s very gray answers.
you the final decision maker, Tom?”
XYZ is a complicated company. We
go through a variety of channels.”
the salesperson is thinking, I’m in sales and I go through one channel:
the decision maker. The good salesperson replies:
this be coming out of your own budget?”
we kind of share the budget.”
Tom, what allocated budget are you working with? Personally. Do you have one?”
I said, we share it.”
this point the good salesperson will follow up by asking again: Who makes the final decision? Who signs the contract?
the Toms of the world don’t give you a straight answer then kindly cut the
conversation short and move on. Of course another way of finding out if Tom is indeed the decision maker is to ask him for the sale.
sound interested, Tom. Let’s move
forward. I can send
you the contract now.”
nothing. When you ask for the sale
and “well” is the first word out of the prospect’s mouth then you know he’s not the final call. It’s time to leapfrog Tommy.
decision makers are black-and-white when asked if they sign off because they
have nothing to hide and they’re not pretending to be someone they’re not. And most decision makers are extremely
difficult to get on the phone.
They’re not chatty. And do
you know why?
they have a lot of decisions to make.
good salesperson asks the prospect a lot of questions regarding the decision
making process. He’s firm,
straightforward and does not accept wishy-washy answers because he understands
that reaching the decision maker is the only way he’s going to make money.