Customer Experience News & Trends

The best ways to find the right decision-makers

One of the most sensitive areas for salespeople is determining whether the prospect has buying authority. You can’t ask them directly, because that has the potential to offend or anger them. 

Here are some questions to ask that will help:

  • Ask for the order. Only a real decision-maker can give you a commitment. If he or she can’t, ask for the name of someone who might be involved in the decision.  The person named may be the actual decision-maker.
  • Ask your prospect how buying decisions get made. The response will usually be an honest one. Just keep in mind the ego factor that makes it difficult for some people to admit they don’t have buying authority.
  • Ask for the rationale as to why certain products were bought in the past. Does the person you’re talking to really know? If he or she wasn’t involved in previous decisions, chances are good that they won’t be involved in this decision either.
  • Try to get the person to admit that he or she does or doesn’t have buying authority. A simple question like, “Is there anyone else who should see this information,” may get you the name you need. Once this admission is made, your relationship should change for the better.
  • Ask for help, especially if you’re calling on a new account. You may not know who the real decision-maker is, but someone in the company does. Secretaries or assistants may be able to point you in the right direction. Network with other salespeople calling on the same account to try to find the real decision-makers.

Adapted from: How to Say It: Creating Complete Customer Satisfaction by Jack Griffin, a communication expert and sales consultant.

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