Customer Experience News & Trends

Closing when multiple decision makers are involved

Salespeople have been told for years to find the decision maker, present the product or service, and try to close the sale. The fewer people involved, the smoother the closing process will run, according to conventional wisdom.

Buying by committee

With more sales decisions being made by committees, it’s important for salespeople to modify their sales presentations to take group dynamics into account. The first step is to figure out the different personalities and roles in the room.

Determine the decision-making process

To be effective with multiple decision makers, it’s important for you to understand the unique process the group will use. The easiest way to understand the process is simply to directly ask how the team will function in its decision making.

Making a group presentation

Salespeople are used to doing face-to-face presentations to a single prospect. But when the faces multiply, dynamics change.

Here are ideas to make group presentations more effective:

  1. Confirm all can stay for the time allocated. If some attendees say they must leave early, try to find out their role in the decision-making process. Regardless of their role, try to ensure that non-attendees have key information.
  2. Watch everyone closely. Does one person seem to get more attention when speaking? Try to key in on those whose input holds more weight.
  3. Encourage participation. If prospects seem too quiet, try to ask the highest-ranking attendees for their opinion. This may cause the others to feel free to speak.
  4. Make sure all prospects have the chance to speak. Ask all department heads how the purchase affects them. If some attendees seem reluctant to speak, try to call or email them later. They may have felt uncomfortable voicing concerns in front of other managers.

Create leverage points

After determining the key decision makers, it’s a good idea to try to locate the leverage points of the prospects.

Leverage points are people within the organization who prospects:

  • admire
  • report to, and/or
  • compete with.

While salespeople are in the selling process, they should try to make it a point to get their message to each of these key people. This increases their chances of closing since the prospects’ key people are aware of what’s being offered.

Find leverage points

If you want to use this strategy, the best people to use for leverage points would be:

  • the prospect’s immediate supervisor
  • the superior’s superior
  • the prospect’s equals in the organization, and
  • equals of the prospect’s immediate supervisor.

Stay impartial

If members of the group start to disagree among themselves, try not to take sides. The best way to do this is to try to get all the issues on the table. You may be able to eliminate the arguing by answering them all at once, rather than one by one.

Adapted from the book “The Power To Get In,” by Michael A. Boylan, a sales trainer and consultant.

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