Sales Maze

Get to the Decision Maker.

A salesman on my team was foot-blitzing one afternoon. Entering one of many small businesses that day he was greeted by a “lets get rid of this guy” employee. As my salesman was about to leave… a salesperson from their company pipes up and offers to meet with us. She asked who the sales manager was and called me. Her offer was to listen to our offering if we would listen to hers. I am truly impressed!

 


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Being a sucker for a good sales pitch I accepted. So far so good. Then things took a turn for the worst. At the last minute she had to cancel and reschedule our meeting. Not really a bad thing as this happens. Where she went wrong, however, is she asked if I could make sure the owners were in the meeting when we reschedule. Interesting.

She was basically saying… I would like to use you to get to talk to the “real” decision maker. While this is the ultimate goal for all of us my question is this… When had she earned the right to ask this? Bottom line is she hadn’t. In some basic way she had insinuated I was a less than contact. Unfortunately for her… that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I will not be meeting with her.

In as condescending voice as he could muster he actually said “Why am I talking to you and not your boss”. Wow!

Our company decided to use a local spam filter company’s services. I was not part of the decision which was fine. This same company thought it might make sense to partner with us and possibly make us an agent for them as well. This services product would now become a sales product for us. The owners wanted the details and my thoughts as to if this is something we could/should sell. Made sense as I was the VP of Sales.

The representative came in to see me. I could tell instantly that he was not happy about talking to me. As we were discussing the opportunity I asked him how they compared to another product I had used for years successfully. This really pissed him off. He absolutely did not feel he owed me any explanation as he had already done that with others in our organization. In as condescending voice as he could muster he actually said “Why am I talking to you and not your boss?”. Wow! I then politely excused him and explained that it would be a cold day in hell before I would recommend their company and offering as a product for us to sell.

What went wrong – The Three Nevers

    1.) Never assume you have earned the right to talk to Executives – Or that you even need to?
    2.) Never assume that your contact is not a strong influencer – There are stealth ways to flush this information out. Like… after you present your proposition ask… “How are decisions made within your organization?”
    3.) Never get impatient or condescending – What can I say here other than this is just stupid!

My guess is that you have transgressed at some time in your career. Pressure is on to get in front of the decision makers. “Don’t waste my time” from your boss if you can’t. You might have been on the receiving end as I was. What were your thoughts and actions?

How easily the circumstances discussed before could have been different. With a little polish and patience appointments, sales, and partnerships could have been earned.

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Chris Lott is a business solutions consultant with over 10 year’s sales management experience including business ownership, product management and marketing. He also owns and contributes to SalesBlog! and totallysales.

 

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