So you’ve probed the client’s issues and they’re enthusuastic.
They’ve had an “aha” moment – you’ve shared new insights and thinking and they fully trust you’re the expert in this field.
And you’ve explored the impact of the problem – you can see they feel the pain and they need to fix it urgently.
In short, they’re sold.
What could possibly go wrong?
Reason 3: You’re Selling to the Wrong Person.
This, of course, is particularly applicable when you’re selling to large organisations.
Often, the person you speak to initially is either the person you found it easiest to get through to (if you initiated the communication) or the person most interested in solving the problem (if they reached out to you).
That’s not the same as the real buyer.
If fact, these days, there’s rarely one simple buyer for very large purchases – there’s a group of people who all influence the decision in one way or another.
And it’s your job to figure out who these people are, and make sure you’ve got them “covered” – preferably by having met them face to face.
How do you find out who these people are? You ask.
Of course, you don’t say “who’s the real decision maker round here?”. That’s not going to make you any friends.
But during the process of your sales meeting – usually near the end when the potential client you’re speaking to is enthusiastic and ready to roll, you need to ask them about their buying process:
-> Who here, apart from yourself, needs to be involved in this decision?
-> What’s the process from here for important decisions like this? Who’s involved?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions you’re “selling blind”. You could very well close the sale, but not win any work because behind the scenes, decisions made by people you don’t know and have never met go against you.
Nowadays, of course, it’s not always possible to meet all the key decision-makers and influencers.
Stricter procurement policies often bar you from speaking to anyone outside a small group if you’re taking part in a formal bid process, for example.
If that’s the case you have two options.
You can work with the clients you’re allowed to speak to (and who are enthusiastic supporters) and coach them to make your case to the key decision-makers. Essentially teaching them to sell internally the way you would.
Or, you might want to consider whether it’s worth investing in this bid.
Chances are the incumbent or one of the competitors on the bid already knows the key decision-makers and the odds will be stacked in their favour.
In this case, you may be better off investing your time in another opportunity.
Either way, you need to know who the decision-makers and influencers are and what their role is to make an informed decision on how to approach the sale.
‘Cos if you’re not selling to the right person, your chances of winning are slim.