Selling is easiest when you have one person to deal with and that person believes in you and likes your offering.
But in complex, high-dollar-value, B2B selling, there are often multiple decision makers involved in the buying process.
Too often you don’t know there are multiple decision makers until you get late in the process. Sometimes that’s the fault of the client, but normally, it’s your fault (sorry if that sounds blunt). If the sales pro isn’t proactively asking the right questions and looking for other people who could affect the deal, the sales pro is not doing a good job.
It’s good practice to just assume there will always be other decision makers. That way you start to prepare for them. One of the ways to do that is to ask key questions early in the process. Here are a couple you might try using:
“How have you made decisions like this in the past?”
This one is good to ask early in the process because it’s a non-threatening, relaxed-sounding question. Plus, it makes you come across as “consultative,” which B2B clients appreciate. In addition to providing you with valuable, timely information, this question lowers the client’s guard and helps build trust.
“Who are some other people who might have some interest in this?”
Once you ask it, listen for names and titles. “Listen between the lines” as they answer, because they may give you little hints and clues as opposed to a lot of detailed, accurate information. Once your client answers this question, you want to be ready with this follow up: “Should we go ahead and talk with them?”
The key is to ask these questions EARLY, because we need your contact inside the client company to think proactively and not reactively. You might also have to ask them more than once – Not because your client wants to be sinister and mislead you, but because clients don’t think the way sales pros do. They think about their own interests, jobs, lives and companies. They don’t see the process through your lens because they have different goals and priorities. It’s your job to coach the client so he or she knows how they can help you help them.
On a different note, are you looking for a way to get better at all aspects of selling?
I just launched an online sales training program called “BragBird” that makes it easier for your reps to learn new sales techniques. It’s a compilation of sales strategies I’ve developed over the past 20 years, and it’s all in one virtual membership. You’ll get 24-7 access to 40 modules, each with a video and workbook. The cost is lower than live training programs. Check out the details HERE!