I’ve been there – you just booked an appointment with a prospect that you are SUPER excited about! You know that if you can do a great job and close them, it’ll make you $XXXXX commission!
You go out there to meet with them on the scheduled date.
You wear your lucky shoes, your favorite suit, you rock out to your favorite pump-up song on the car drive there, and you even pop a Listerine strip into your mouth as you walk in.
The appointment is going AMAZINGLY well and they are literally EATING out of your hand!
As the meeting starts to come to an end and you can feel the crescendo of the close about to occur as you ask for the business.
You then hear the dreaded 6-word sentence come out of your prospect’s mouth:
“I don’t make the final decision.”
You then curl up into a ball on the floor and start crying – just kidding! However, you are frustrated as you feel like you just wasted your time.
I’ve always hated that feeling and hated my reps feeling that defeat as well.
Can you still close them? Probably.
Will you need to get other decision-makers involved? More than likely.
Does it feel good? Definitely not.
Fortunately there are many things you can do to upfront to help reduce and eliminate this from happening. Let’s check them out:
1.) Draw out who the exact decision-maker(s) are in the business – The first step is that you must be massively clear on who the typical type of decision-maker is in the business. I’m not talking about just title, but what are their exact role and responsibilities, what are their primary focuses, concerns, etc. This may vary also by industry and size of the business as well depending on what you offer!
The key is that ultimate decision-maker is the one that can say YES when everyone else says NO!
You want to map out this perfect “decision-maker” avatar and then any other roles that may also influence the decision. This gives you perfect clarity on who you want to meet with. Here’s an example – let’s say you offer recruiting services for technology sales reps:
- Small Tech Company: In a small tech company, there may be a very small leadership team. Your ultimate decision-maker is probably going to make every single decision in the business from where to buy pens to hiring. More than likely every dollar impacts the bottom-line AKA how much they make. Also, more than likely it is the small business owner that is the decision-maker.
- Medium-Size Tech Company: In a medium-size tech company, a hierarchy has probably been formed. Depending on the size of the hierarchy, the decisions may be made by one leader that oversees operations, sales, customer service, etc. This may be a general manager, managing director, etc. If they are large enough, they may have department heads that may make decisions or influence the decision as well. If that is the case, it may be sales manager or sales director.
Ultimately, take the time to draw exactly who your decision-maker(s) are and who the final decision-maker is as that’ll help you target accordingly.
2.) Research online – Now that you know what the key people are that make the decisions, the next step is to take the proper time to research online to help you identify and validate the right decision-maker. There are so many simple ways to research this:
- The company website
Depending on the size of the organization, it could help you identify very quickly who the exact person or people are and can give you a great starting point for the first contact. If all else fails, pick up the phone and just call to ask the receptionist!
Simple Ninja Trick: If you still can’t figure out who the main decision-maker is, call and ask for the Sales Department! Salespeople inherently want to help people so if you ask for help via the Sales Department, you’d be SHOCKED how much information they’ll give you to help you secure an appointment and ultimately close the deal!
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3.) Qualify at the first touch point – Once you have a safe bet on WHO the final decision-maker is, the very first touch point with the business is an opportunity to qualify that you are on the right track. The Ninja Trick above is a pretty awesome way to do it as well!
If you did a face-to-face cold call or a phone cold call, qualify right on the spot and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions. (More than likely this is with the gatekeeper.) This ultimately helps you ensure you are targeting the right person to meet with! It may sound something like this: “Ok Bob, if I understand you right, Lisa is the one that makes the ultimate decision on products/programs like this, is that right?”
It’ll take no more than 30 seconds and it will give you even more clarity to ensure you are on the right path!
4.) Qualify on the phone – So more than likely you are now at the point of securing a meeting with the decision-maker so you are more than likely calling them on the phone; once you get them on the phone, before you wrap the phone call up, take 30 seconds to qualify them again to ensure YOUR TIME is worth it! It may sound something like this: “Ok Lisa, I’m looking forward to seeing you next Thursday at 8 AM! Aside from yourself, does anyone need to be present to get this program going that day?” This helps you know how to navigate the future meeting dependent on their response.
Also, if you find out it is not just them but other potential decision-influencers, now you can ask to have them all present as well to the meeting. This extra little touch helps you minimize the number of meetings you need to close it.
5.) Qualify at every touch point – So you’re probably thinking, “WOW, so I’ve researched and now I’ve qualified multiple times before my first meeting – I must be good now, right?” WRONG – this is still an assumption; I’ve been there when we’ve done all these steps and we head into the first appointment very excited about the opportunity – suddenly our hopes and dreams are smashed as we go for the close and they suddenly share with us then those dreaded six-words from earlier…. (“I don’t make the final decision”). Could be real or could be a smokescreen objection. Either way, don’t assume as you know what that means…
Instead, in your first meeting, qualify AGAIN with them before you go for the close. Ensure you have crystal clear clarity on WHO makes the final decision, WHO ALL is involved, and WHAT the process looks like. Then if you don’t close on the spot, make sure every subsequent meeting you are requalifying as you continue to move the ball down the field to close the deal.
So there you have – 5 steps to ensure you are meeting with the right decision-makers! The steps are simple and take ZERO skill! They only require consistent effort to make it happen. Here’s the absolutely BEAUTIFUL part about this – when you do this consistently, you will automatically start spending your time with ACTUAL DECISION MAKERS! You’ll then see your closing ratio INCREASE and you’ll see your sales cycle SHORTEN. This ultimately will help build your confidence and help you close more deals.
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And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above. Also, make sure to share and like if this was impact to you!
Marcus Chan is an award-winning results and people-driven executive sales leader. Over the last decade, Marcus has been promoted 10X in 10 years and has been ranked in the top percentile of every company and every role he has been in. He is passionate about helping others reach their maximum potential. You can follow him on Instagram here for daily motivation! More information and a ton of cool resources are waiting for you below!