This past week during a virtual sales training session, this question came up.
I find that when trying to close prospects, they are regularly telling me that they wish to go forward, however they have to convince other decision makers who sit above them. I have offered to speak and meet with these economic buyers to help the decision making process, but this is rarely accepted.
I get it! I'm sure that in some cases the ‘I need permission from a colleague’ excuse is a smokescreen, but I am also confident that it is a genuine reason in some instances.
Here is my slant on the approach. There are a couple of things to take into consideration with this.
First of all, yes, on some occasions it will be a smokescreen. That’s j
ust how some people are wired.
But early on in the meeting and qualification phase you need to establish who the decision maker is and find out the type of person they are. Because what you are doing is a “sell for the sell” I call that the economic buyer.
You need to arm your “zealot” with the tools, the knowledge and the correct approach to convince the next level up. So, the position you need to get yourself into is when your “zealot” says “Yes, this is right for us. All I need to do now is to convince Mr/Mrs X”
Once you hear that it’s now time to switch into sales coaching mode! You have to coach the prospect on how they are going to sell the idea to the decision maker.
What are their key drivers?
What type of personality do they have?
Why your product/service?
You need to also focus on “what’s in it for your zealot?” They ultimately want to look good in front of the decision maker so help them to achieve this. It’s a complex subject that deserves a lot more time spent over it but you need to facilitate the decision making process and help your key influencer or 'zealot' to indeed influence the ultimate decision maker.
In short, you have to set up a sale for the sale!