Sell the Decision Maker

Usually my posts are marketing related, but all of the marketing in the world won’t work if the people or person in charge of Sales doesn’t close the deal. Marketing’s job is to peak interest; it’s the job of Sales to complete the transaction – to convert the prospect into a customer. In my company I usually wear both hats, and just like every other salesperson out there, I have to be vigilant and disciplined with my time.

Decision Maker

Are you meeting with the right people?

I’ve been working with a large client that I have a longstanding relationship with from the ground up; I started by working on a few small projects that led to medium sized jobs and I have a good report and reputation with the employees I’ve worked with. One of the mid level managers thinks I could do a lot for the company on a national level. As you would probably guess, I am not against this idea but haven’t yet had the opportunity to present my ideas to the DECISION MAKER, the VP of Marketing. He lives on the other side of the country and doesn’t come my way often, so the opportunity to meet in a more casual setting at one of the company locations has not arisen. The other day I got a call that he would be in New York at a conference and there would be the chance of meeting him if I could get down there next week; that mid level manager was sure he could get me the introduction. In my excitement at the prospect, I almost took the chance… until I woke up and realized one of the first lessons I used to teach my sales force: you’re wasting your time if you’re not selling to the DECISION MAKER.

An out of town trip on short notice is no small feat for me as I have packed schedule like everyone else. It means rearranging appointments with existing clients, finding day/night care arrangements for my daughter, ensuring that both of my companies are set up for a couple of days and my employees know what they’re doing while I’m away, in addition to time away from the daily avalanche of emails etc. that will need my attention. But of course it’s worth it, right? To meet the VP of Marketing for a large company? WRONG.

It would be worth all of the above IF I was having a meeting and the VP of Marketing understood that I was there to discuss his company using my services. To drop everything for the chance of saying hello, introducing myself and hoping to set up a meeting is a sorry waste of time.

This is the most difficult sort of discipline for the optimistic sales person, but it essential to avoid running around wasting time. The optimist in us thinks that we’ll be so impressive in that short meet & greet that the target will of course want more. But at some point optimism turns to foolishness. If your ideas are so significant, you should be able to LAND the meeting, the REAL MEETING, that will give you the time to sell your ideas to the person who can make the decision to buy. Discipline is the key to effectiveness; your time is limited, and you can waste mountains of it on chances. If that mid level manager is so sure of your services they’ll be able to get you the phone call and you can land the meeting yourself; the real meeting where you have a real chance of selling your ideas… the one it will be worth turning your office upside down for, because being as good as you are you’ll be able to close the deal, in the real meeting.

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