There are many ways to find the decision maker in an organisation.
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Perhaps the most valuable way to find the decision maker is through networking and referrals. A referral from a third party gives you instant credibility, especially if the third party is well-known and respected by the potential client.
In looking for the decision maker, it is often worthwhile to go through a “prequalifying” process. This involves doing some research to determine if the contact is really the appropriate person to talk to and if the decision maker’s business actually has a need for your products.
Sometime there is a secondary contact person involved. Their position in the company and their closeness to the decision maker will decide this. Glean as much information from the secondary contact as is appropriate.
When you first speak to the decision maker it will be appropriate to let them know who referred you to them: “Hello, I’m from _______and I’ve been given your name by_______ from _______. I was wondering if you had a few moments to discuss _______”.
By letting them know that you have dealt with and supplied a person they trust, you will immediately become more trustworthy in their eyes. Don’t go straight into a pitch, but make preliminary enquiries to strengthen your sales prospects.
Performing a Needs Analysis
Clients need many more things than you might be planning to sell them. The more you can do for a client, the more you will be seen as a valuable partner and contributor. Here are some suggestions about how it might be possible to meet some other client needs:
- Information. You might be able to act as a consultant to a client, providing information about the latest developments in your field.
- Training. If you provide a product that requires some training, make training part of the package.
- Financing. If your company does not provide financing, put the client in touch with banks that do.
- Community. Communities often grow up around particular products, especially high tech products. Introduce clients to users groups or trade organisations.
- Personnel. You probably know a number of capable people who are thinking about changing jobs. Helping a client find skilled employees can benefit everyone involved. If the people you recommend are hired, they will become some of your strongest advocates.
Creating Potential Sales Solutions
Providing sales solutions is a matter of finding ways to address the problems identified through the questions you ask a client.
If the client’s problems are fairly simple, you may be able to offer a solution on the spot. For more complex problems, you may need some time to study the situation before you come up with a way to deal with it. In addressing these more difficult problems, you might take the same approach you would use with a problem in your own organisation. Assemble a group of knowledgeable staff and ask them to brainstorm solutions.
Find the best ideas and implement them. A successful research of the problem will help you build a good reputation.