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Top-Shelf Tip No. 235:

"Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision."

Peter Drucker

Cultivate These Decision Makers To Seal The Deal, Part 2

When it comes to B2B sales, decisions are typically made by a group, not an individual. Each member of the group has a different objective and a different perspective.

Mike Schultz is a consultant, sales expert and business author who says that often our focus as salespeople is on what he calls the Business Driver. This is the person who cares about the return on investment and who drives the agenda forward in the purchase.

However, the Business Driver often does not bring other key participants into the process early on, and this can cause significant bottlenecks in the decision-making process or could even kill the deal altogether.

Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today outlined underlying factors that affect negotiations with the Business Driver, the Approver and the Evaluator. Today, we share Schultz's insights and tips on how to influence the Champion and the Domino.

The Champion. This is the person who is going to support you on your journey. It could be a contact with whom you already have a relationship, or just someone who really wants to see this project move forward. Whatever the case, the Champion is a powerful person to help you navigate through the organization. This person could be the key to helping you discover what's most important to each of the buying team members.

Schultz explains the role of the Champion like this: "Think about it in reverse: Ever lost a sale because the buyer had a prior relationship with a seller who swooped in at the end and won? It could have been that the other seller had a Champion and you didn't, or the other Champion had more clout."

How to influence them: First, you have to find a Champion. He suggests asking your contacts at the client company, "Is there anyone else who might really like to see this happen?"You might hear: "You know, you should talk to Jill, our VP of sales. She might not even know this is happening, but she can definitely give you some insight." Be sure to ask about any pre-existing relationships or contacts they might have with other companies or competitors.

The Domino. The final role he describes is the person (or two) in the sale who influences others on the team. If they agree to your services, then the odds of you winning will greatly increase because others will follow their lead. It's the person who says, "We should do this with you" and then everyone else falls into place.

How to influence them: Whoever plays this role should receive special attention from you. See if you can get one-on-one time with them and inspire them with your solution, either by catering to their needs or creating a memorable, convincing experience.

To summarize:
The Business Driver – primarily interested in ROI; drives the agenda forward

The Approver – Concerned about allocation and best use funds; get them involved early

The Evaluator – Evaluates the purchase from an operational perspective

The Champion – Cares about getting the project approved and will support you; rely on them to help you navigate the organization

The Domino – The person who can influence others on the team; has the swaying voice or vote

Schultz points out that one person can play multiple roles in the process. Take time to identify the players to streamline your next sale.

Source: Mike Schultz is president of RAIN Group and a world-renowned consultant and sales expert. He is co-author of several books, including the Wall Street Journal bestseller Rainmaking Conversations: How to Influence, Persuade, and Sell in Any Situation (Wiley, 2011) and Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently (Wiley, 2014). He was named the Top Sales Thought Leader globally in 2011 by Top Sales Awards.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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