SCENARIO: everybody and her sister can write an article about skin care and how pomega5 products truly exceed the performance of other green lines, but someone has got to make a sale, and sometimes you are in that happy place where you’ve gotten into the customer attention by she is not yet ready to purchase your product.
As you work with your customer contact, it gradually dawns on you that she doesn’t have the authority to make a final decision. The real decision-makers are somewhere else up the management chain but your contact seems reluctant to introduce you upwards. How do you cope?
Here’s a five step process:
· STEP #1: Understand the psychology. Assuming that your contact is not actually delusional about her decision-making power (don’t laugh; it happens), your contact probably has cold feet about bringing the idea to the bigwig’s attention. Unlike you, she is not trained to overcome the fear of selling new brands and, if she screws up, she can’t just move on to the next account. She’s got to live with the results
· STEP #2: Take a dose of reality. If your sales activity remains at this level, and with this person, it may add days, weeks and even months to your sales cycle. And it will waste time that you could be spending developing other opportunities. What’s more, there’s a good chance that the opportunity could drag on and on and then end in a “no decision” simply because a decision maker isn’t involved. So you MUST take action.
· STEP #3: Research the power structure. Find out the name(s) of the real decision-makers. It probably won’t help just to ask outright, because your contact is pretending, remember? So ask indirect questions like: “how have offerings like this been purchased in the past?” or “who else in the management influences your final decision?” Worse case, develop some more contacts and ask around.
· STEP #4: Request appropriate access. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Say something like: “We’ve made a lot of good progress here we are at the point of this process we need to speak to John Smith, the senior VP. This is a something that will help us both, so shall we do that meeting together or shall I contact her myself?” Note that you’re giving a choice, but that each choice moves the sale forward.
· STEP #5: Determine what’s missing. If the contact refuses either choice — she won’t sponsor you and tells you not to talk to the decision maker — you have one (1) fallback position. Say something like: “I apologize for not articulating the situation very well. We’re working together on a deal for x amount of money and made a good start. What needs to happen before we get John Smith involved?” Listen carefully to the answer.