Most of Mike's potential accounts seem to be unable to make a decision on their own regarding his service. They claim they have responsibility, listen to his presentation, but then let him know there are "others" who have final decision-making authority. He is frustrated by this situation and usually just makes his presentation, anyway, hoping for the best. As a result, his closing ratio is poor and his sales cycle is exceedingly long.
Obviously, Mike understands the importance of speaking directly to a higher authority. But in the real world it seems that Mr. Big is either too busy, off-site or not available. However, the real problem is that Mike lacks an effective strategy to handle the difficulty of dealing with those that have responsibility but no authority.
The worst nightmare for a sales professional is to be denied access to the decision maker and then have to rely on a responsible contact to make your presentation for you. These people typically just forward information to others with an explanation and, sometimes, a weak recommendation. The problem is that people with responsibility and no authority are normally neutral. They lack conviction that your solution is the best for the company. They do not want to get involved. It's a safe haven for them and results in great difficulty getting them to commit to anything brave like a “Yes or No”.
The solution becomes quite simple. Promote your responsible party. Yes, make your contact your inside sales person. Make them "drink the Koolaid" and become converted or put you out of your misery. Force this deputy to take some ownership of the sales process. Get them out of the "neutral waters".
Here's what to say: "I realize that the decision is made elsewhere, but here's what I'd like to do if you agree. I'd like to get from you as good an understanding of your problems and priorities as possible and then I'll offer our solution to you. After I've made the presentation, I'd like you to be able to tell me what you would do if the decision were yours to make alone. And by the way, I'm okay with a "No" if you think another vendor would be a better choice. Is that fair?"
This tactic is a major stroke to your prospect and requires him to get more involved in the process than he might otherwise. If he agrees to this (and he usually will), you must treat him as if he had final authority, conduct your presentation and get a "yes or no" at the end. (Using a numerical scale of 1 to 10 to assess interest is an effective way to get that decision, as you know.) When the prospect sends the information to the ultimate decision maker at headquarters, it will go with his recommendation to use your product. That will improve your close ratio.
When you're confronted with an absentee decision maker, improve your chances for the sale by going the extra mile with the local contact. Make him the decision maker for a day.
Have you done this before? How did it go for you? If you haven't, do you have some people to ID to take this role on for you?
Final Thought for the Morning:
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.