Well, that’s a shocking headline. The simple truth is, more often than not, multiple people are involved in the buying decision. Some research suggests it is often more than five. Think about it. You have your contact, their boss(es), purchasing, the controller and maybe someone in manufacturing or engineering. You may be calling on one of the right people, but there are others who can influence the buying decision. In too many cases, there are others who can veto the buying decision.
There is often a lead person within that decision making group. Not everyone carries the same influence. It might be the owner of a smaller company, a division head or the supervisor of your contact. There are others that have minimal interest, but their opinion is sought. It is important to identify all the players. Once identified, uncover their level of influence and react accordingly.
Here’s another consideration. Oftentimes you will encounter the person that tells you, “I will make the final decision”. You now think you only have to convince them. Yes, they may make the final decision, but they don’t do it in a vacuum. They will seek input from others. As salespeople, we want to leverage these individuals as much as possible. Not only do we want them to choose us, we also want them to encourage others in the buying group to choose us.
Know the importance of the initiative/decision. No matter how powerful the business case, in spite of what the biggest influencers say, every decision can be stopped by a single Veto—or “No.” Too often, we are so focused on getting to “Yes,” that we overlook the one person that will say no. And very often the person that can stop a project/decision is not the most powerful or influential person involved.
If you are unaware of all those contributing to the decision, do not be surprised if you are unsuccessful in winning the business. Ask the question; “Is there anyone else influencing this decision?
Sales quote: “Try it, change it, try it again.”