Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Isolating the Decision-Maker

February 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 160

A common pitfall in selling is to career down the sales path with a particular prospect, unaware that there may be somebody else involved in making the final decision. Often dismissed as nothing more than an oversight, it is far more serious than that; it really is a fundamental flaw in the sales process. In business-to-business selling, establishing exactly who will have the final say is a vital early step in the sales process - to determine as soon as possible if your immediate prospect has the authority to buy. This is usually done in the qualification stage, by simply asking if anyone else will need to be involved in the purchase decision. If so, the response is to suggest that the other party join in the process. This avoids having to duplicate your presentation, or worse still, having to entrust the presentation to someone else. However, in retail selling, it may not always be so straight forward...

Outside of major purchases, such as buying a family car for example, this is generally not the case in a retail showroom. Even so, floor salespeople are not exempt - they can occasionally encounter the husband and wife, or family partnership situation, where there is only one of the partners in the store. Yes, they too could then find themselves having to deal with an unanticipated absentee vote.

This has been the subject of some very animated discussion in my retail sales training and management workshops, where some of the participants prefer to take a very soft approach. They believe that if the customer genuinely needs to bounce it off their partner or check with the inevitable 'favourite uncle', they will politely go along with it, happy in the knowledge that they have earned the respect of the customer, and that they are not necessarily out of the running. To draw any comfort at all from this approach, I guess that they need to have verified that this wasn't just another classic case of the phantom objection, an excuse to avoid buying right now. Personally, while I respect the pride and confidence involved in this school of thought, I can't recommend it.

If you haven't earlier established that there is to be another decision-maker involved, then my preferred approach is to revert to a preservation technique, asking the customer which particular aspects they would like to check out, then working through each of those aspects with them. You are then in a position to at least get that person's commitment and to proceed along the same lines we all did as a child, where we sought permission one at a time... 'hey dad, mum said it was okay, so can I?' I am sure you can remember doing this!

In this case however, there is no room for those little white lies you probably tinkered with back then or for the rather unscrupulous way you played one parent off against the other. Hopefully, your virtues of honesty and integrity would have come a long way since those days, but the basic principle remains valid. This example lends itself to an appropriate application of one of the classic sales dialogue techniques - the 'if' question - along the lines of, 'I appreciate that it can be uncomfortable making decisions like this on your own. If you and your partner were to consider proceeding, then do you feel okay with what we have discussed?'

Once you have their endorsement, you can then become their advocate, and volunteer to talk to their partner for them, or better still, with them. In some cases, it may be no more difficult than picking up the phone, and now with the odds of 2:1 in your favour, getting the other party's endorsement on the spot. Either way, provided you genuinely have the interests of your customer in mind, and observe the normal courtesies, this technique can rescue a sale that may have otherwise evaporated.

In everyday life, we seem to believe that we have that uncanny knack of assuming who will emerge as the decision-maker in any group or partnership. When we are selling, assumption is not good enough; we have to establish it once and for all, or be left hanging in the breeze - another sales opportunity lost!

About the Author: In a distinguished career spanning half a century, Keith Rowe has managed the full journey from shop floor to boardroom. Along the way, he has headed the Australian sales and marketing operations for three of the world's largest Consumer Electronics manufacturers - Toshiba, Sanyo and Sharp.

Keith is not just a successful businessman. He is an accomplished speaker and trainer, specialising in interpersonal skills. His latest book - the KNACK of Negotiating - is essential reading for all those involved in commercial buying and selling. It is available in all the popular eBook formats, from Apple iTunes to Amazon Kindle.

© 2012 Keith Rowe - all rights reserved worldwide

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Sales Process


Retail Sales Training


Retail Sales

In India, employment opportunities are set to grow by a good margin in the coming year, a phase which was started in the turn of the second decade of the 21st century. organisation, candidates with

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Careers Employment l April 01, 2013 lViews: 11708

Sometimes it is amazing to see that certain jobs can precipitate huge turnouts in the recruitment drives. It is as if thousands of people were waiting for the vacancy advertisements and the moment

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Careers Employment l December 30, 2012 lViews: 690

In recent times, jobs in healthcare segments have grown tremendously. It is anticipated that this growth curve will continue for the times to come. Various factors are responsible for this

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Career Advice l December 27, 2012 lViews: 448

Are you in a dilemma whether to choose web based CRM or not? If yes, don’t worry. You aren’t the sole person having this doubt.There are numerous firms trying to make out whether investing in a

By: Reneta Vasileva l Business > Customer Service l December 23, 2012 lViews: 409

If you think about it you will realize the fact that each business has its own set of risks that are involved in it.The trade secrets that you have and the information related to the business is what

By: brumbrum1 l Business > Risk Management l December 23, 2012 lViews: 263

As the time is changing, concierge management services are now growing despite the slowing economies of the world. The main reason of it is the need that is highly specific to the people who like to

By: willsmith10 l Business > Management l December 23, 2012 lViews: 334

The goal of all salespeople is to close more deals faster and easier. In an attempt to achieve these ends they often sabotage their overall results and efforts by failing to adhere to a few

By: Tim Connorl Business > Salesl April 25, 2012 lViews: 188

The sales process typically occurs in a cycle. New leads are generated; potential customers are contacted and converted to sales. Some of these customers leave when their contract ends, creating the

By: Andy Westl Business > Salesl April 24, 2012 lViews: 167

Sometimes we don't realize the barriers we place between our customers and a sale. A little initiative can pay big dividends, if you learn to make it easy for them.

By: Douglas R Krugerl Business > Salesl April 23, 2012 lViews: 171

There are no shortcuts to success. We have to make time for our family and business if we want to be successful in both. We have to stay focused on our business goals and at the same time be here for

By: Maria Duronl Business > Salesl April 23, 2012 lViews: 161

Body language is probably the most powerful and honest way to express ourselves. Yet too many salespeople underestimate the power of body language or even ignore it all together. This article shines

By: Kees Scheffell Business > Salesl April 21, 2012 lViews: 227

Strategies to grow sales in the ever changing environment. You cant do it the same old way. You need to Re-Imagine your sales strategies.

By: Sam Kariukil Business > Salesl April 21, 2012 lViews: 176

In today's world of commercial negotiating, there is no escaping the harsh reality that those who take the time to know more about the other party's business will have the upper hand. No longer can

By: Keith E Rowel Business > Negotiationl March 25, 2012 lViews: 166

Selling is a very rewarding occupation, particularly when we 'pull off the big one'. We are so proud of our achievement that we want to shout it from the rooftops, break out the champagne, celebrate

By: Keith E Rowel Business > Salesl February 29, 2012 lViews: 177

Most people don't want to be told what they already know, or what they don't want to know, least of all sales prospects. Yet so often we greet our customers with a barrage of statements... our whole

By: Keith E Rowel Business > Salesl February 29, 2012 lViews: 169

Some time ago, I was working with a supplier in the consumer electronics industry. Our mission was to develop some 'train-the-trainer' material to allow their field sales representatives to take a

By: Keith E Rowel Business > Salesl February 28, 2012 lViews: 170

I'm always searching for real case studies and anecdotes to use in my sales training sessions, and a particularly relevant one just happened to bob up during a casual conversation with some friends

By: Keith E Rowel Business > Salesl February 27, 2012 lViews: 145

Emotional intelligence is always an engaging topic in my sales training sessions as the participants revel in the quest for a better understanding of traits like behavioural style, and other subtle

By: Keith E Rowel Business > Salesl February 21, 2012 lViews: 182