You’ve polished your knowledge of the product’s benefits and you’re ready to hit the nail on the head with your pitch to get the deal sealed. As well-prepared as you may be, if you’re talking to gatekeepers and underlings, your chances of making the sale are slim to none. To change the fortunes of your sales programs and efforts, it pays to learn how to get straight to the decision makers.
Research and Prepare
Learn as much as you can about the prospect’s industry, niche, and business ecosystem. Once you get to know the market, dig deeper into the leadership structure to figure out who’s who in the company. Knowing all this information can give you a better insight into the company’s dynamic and who may have what kind of influence on the decisions.
In this information age, researching the company typically involves browsing the website and passing an eye over their LinkedIn profile. Focus particularly on the profiles of the key people who influence the company’s decision-making.
Before reaching out, come up with a valid reason why the decision makers should listen to you. It’s important to remember that it’s not your product or its features that’ll hook the buyer. Rather, it’s about the benefits they’ll derive from your offering.
Build a relationship
Once you get a clearer view of the organization, make it part of your program to look for referrals within your network. You can reach out to people within your circles who might know the decision makers to turn your cold pitches into warm introductions. You may also come across people with shared connections on social media platforms that can draw you closer to meeting with the top guns.
When your network and contacts pave the way to interact with the decision makers, avoid starting off your initial contact by talking about your product or solution. Instead, focus on building a relationship. Ask the right questions and practice active listening to unearth the company’s buying process. You can also catch on to the company’s needs so you can be better prepared with your pitch.
Engage respectfully with the gatekeepers
Gatekeepers are often the first point of contact who gauge if your offering can solve the company’s problems.
It’s important that you don’t rub gatekeepers the wrong way to strengthen your selling programs. Treat non-decision makers respectfully and sway them to become champions for your business. The aim is to present a strong front to the most important gatekeepers and turn them into allies to get your foot through the door.
If you walk into a sales negotiation with non-decision makers, avoid diving into commitments, revealing too much information, or giving away concessions. The final decision makers will likely want to make changes on some points of the agreement which might throw the entire deal off track.
Focus on hammering on the benefits you have to offer and circle back to asking to be referred to the relevant people to close the sale.
Know when to walk away
Spending your valuable time banging away at a connection that isn’t going to pan out will prevent you from other opportunities hindering your sales programs. So, knowing when to walk away saves you from wasted time and ultimately brings more success.
There’s no universal set time for determining when to cut a prospect loose. However, the rule of thumb is to weigh the attempts you’ve made and see if there are any signs of interest and progress. If you keep hitting a brick wall before you reach the decision makers, it may serve you better to move on to other prospects.
All in all, it pays to focus on reaching decision makers every time. It’s also important to know when to give in and take off towards the next prospect.