In sales, we get so focused on “the decision maker” that we often forget the fact that multiple people could be “the decision maker”. But don’t worry too much about that! You don’t have to start from scratch to find the other decision makers!
In fact, we can use empathy to get the main contact to introduce you to the other decision maker, or makers.
Depending on the size of the organization, there could be a handful of folks who would weigh in on any large purchases.
If you are selling a product or a service which requires a significant investment from the company, they may all weigh in pretty heavily, in which case there is potentially a difference in opinion.
Here are some ways you can get in front of the other decision makers within your customer’s company.
Schedule a “Meet and Greet” Video Call
Assuming you have finished your prospecting work, and you have piqued the customer’s interest, it’s time to get in front of the other folks who will have to work with your main contact.
Think of it this way, when a customer is interested in something, and there are other decision makers, they usually say something like, “yeah, I really like it, I just need to get everyone else on board.”
Well, guess what?
When someone says that, what they are actually saying is, “I need to sell this idea to people who are higher up than me.” Well, isn’t that a salesperson job in the first place?
Rather than sending your customer in there alone, you can offer to go in together as a united front! And that is exactly how you should pitch this idea! It should be all about helping the customer.
You can say something like, “How would you feel about all of us getting on a Zoom call just to at least open a dialogue? If the other folks have any objections, I can handle them and be there to help support you with building a case. I’ll take the brunt of it.”
Now, they may not say “yes” every single time, or at least not at first. But you can push back a little bit, and really make the case that it’s to help them as much as it is to help you. And it’s not a lie! You’re helping them pitch an idea to their bosses. Since you offered to take the fall if it goes poorly, they have nothing to lose.
Use that logic in your counter argument when the customer hesitates on the idea.
Would it Help to Identify the Other Decision Makers?
Yes, it would, and it probably should be the first thing you do. There are times when you are dealing with a single decision maker within a company, and there’s no reason to schedule a conference call.
I still strongly suggest scheduling a “Meet and Greet” with just them, but that’s a different topic.
That said, before you schedule anything, it’s usually a good idea to ask something like, “who else needs to weigh in on this? Is there anyone else we have to get approval from?”
That question does a few things.
Firstly, it asks an open-ended question, so they have to answer with names, and they usually do.
You also said, “we” and again reiterated the team mentality with the customer.
Either way, it’s always a good idea to identify the other folks within the company who make decisions.
If for no other reason, it gives you more people to contact in the future the next time you may pitch them on something. In my experience, when I ask about the other decision makers, the person will actually tell me their names and job titles. That is extremely valuable to me, because I can go on LinkedIn, confirm I have the correct spelling (without having to ask the customer to spell the names) and I can “guess” their emails.
Well, not really guessing their emails. I use a very interesting tool to get their company’s email format!
If they have an automated phone directory on their main line, you can easily get their extension, so just by asking that question (“who are the other decision makers?”), you can really build up a contact page in your CRM for those folks.
Do You Have to Keep in Touch With All of Them?
This may very well depend on your particular product and industry, but in my experience that is not really the case. I am regularly involved with business deals which require several decision makers. I typically have one main point of contact, and include the others in important conversations.
So, yes, you have to keep in touch with all of them, but you should have a single main point of contact, in my personal opinion. If you think I am wrong, or if that won’t work for you, that is perfectly fine.
However, in my personal experience, having a main point of contact within an organization is the best way to operate. If you start calling the other folks, especially when your main contact isn’t answering, that could seem like you’re going around them or over their head.
You certainly do NOT want to do that!
When it comes time to have important discussions, it’s always best to schedule conference Zoom calls with everyone, and ideally you want everyone to show up.
If you at least copy them on relevant emails, and make them part of the discussions, they’ll be more likely to show up to Zoom calls.
Why Do You Want to Include Multiple People Anyway?
It may seem like the more people you involve in something, the harder it will be to gain momentum, right?
That is actually true, but only to an extent.
In my experience, there is usually a “lead” decision maker who really calls the shots. The others sort of go with the flow unless they see or hear something they really don’t like. In which case, they will usually question the leader.
Either way, there are a ton of reasons why you should have multiple points of contact at a company.
The most obvious one is, you want to meet everyone you possibly can who weighs in on decisions that require your product or service. That’s just a given, yeah?
The other reason, that may not be so obvious, is that your main point of contact there isn’t obligated to work there until the end of time. They may leave one day, and it may come so suddenly, you have no time to find someone else within the organization.
Believe me, I have had this happen to me multiple times in the past, and I finally learned from my mistakes, and I now have many contacts at each of my accounts. I try to stay in contact with them as much as possible, just to have an open conversation about something.
However, when you have one contact at a company, and they are one day gone, you have to pretty much start all the way from ZERO. It sucks.
So, be sure to include multiple decision makers in all your sales processes, when applicable.
I’ll be honest with you, I actually Googled, “most common sales challenges 2021” and one of the results was about how to reach multiple decision makers within a company. Well, since that is something that I do for a living, I figured I’d address the issue, and share what I do with everyone.
If you’re having trouble with navigating multiple decision maker decisions in general, that’s a completely different topic, and it’s something we could always discuss during a Sales Therapy meeting if you’d like!
But, if you’re having trouble with just getting started, then this article should set you up rather nicely. If you try these tactics, and they don’t work for you, please do let me know!
These techniques work for me, but that doesn’t mean they have to work for you!
Good luck, and Happy Selling!
This post was originally posted on r/salestechniques by u/SalesTherapy