Honing in on the person who makes the buying decisions at a company and establishing a relationship with them is a crucial part of succeeding with a prospect, not only for making the immediate sale, but also for setting them up to be a repeat customer. It may seem like an obvious point, but that doesn't mean it's an easy one. All too often company decision makers will delegate purchasing decisions to subordinates without handing over control of the company wallet. As a result, you're left in a situation where your point of contact is someone who is constantly saying, "Yes, that sounds great, but I have to check with my boss." It's a difficult situation to be in—especially if you're in for a large order and laying out a huge amount of cash or credit to hold inventory on a "maybe."
Thankfully, there are ways to get away from "maybe" for good. With the right questions, some presentations and the forethought to cast a wide net when working with prospects and new clients, and you'll find those purse strings opening up with much less effort and risk involved.
THE RIGHT START
When trying to find the appropriate decision maker for the particular items you're selling, determine which person or department controls which portion of a company's budget. This seemingly easy step is not always as clearly defined as you might expect. As Ryan Sauers, president and owner of Stone Mountain, Georgia-based Sauers Consulting Strategies LLC, explained, the buying chain has changed a bit since 10 to 15 years ago, when there was typically a single procurement person at a company who did all the buying.
"I think in today's world—especially in printing and promotional products—if I was calling on a company, I would probably look for the marketing director or the director of communications, and then figure out where print or promotional products fall," he said.