How to Contact & Speak To Decision Makers
How Do You Know You’re Speaking To a Decision Maker?
To know you’re in front of a decision maker, you need to ask some questions. A lot of people think you need to use tricks to circumvent the gatekeeper or tell a little white lie to talk to the decision maker…They are wrong. The tips in this episode work if you’re starting low or high on the food chain of decision makers. In other words, when you speak to someone who has reached out to buy your product or service, they’re likely NOT a decision maker, but they can get you in front of them. But how?
In this episode we talk through several ways you can find out whether the person you’re talking to is a decision maker. But first we start with identifying who you should be speaking to and why they’re the best person. Believe it or not, many people don’t know who they should be talking to…rather they talk to a warm body. By identifying who you should be speaking to, you’ll know when you’re in front of the right person. Once you know the person you’re talking to is the wrong person, you’ll have a process to getting the introduction to the person you should be talking to.
- How to identify the person who can say no versus yes.
- How to do some quick research to find out who it should be
- Tactics to speaking to the right person
- What to say when they push back to doing that introduction
- When it’s time to proceed with the wrong person, but how you’ll get the introduction later
- What if they say “No, you’ll never speak to the president?”
- How to make the wrong person your ally/partner.
- Ask them to teach you how you’re going to get the sale
- When to start from the top of the org chart when making a call
If you like this episode or want more like this, please leave us a review on your podcast platform.
How To Find the Decision Maker In Sales
Hey everybody, welcome back. Welcome back. And there’s Lane over there. How you doing Lane?
I’m doing great Rob, how are you?
I’m doing well. I’m doing well. What do you want to talk about today?
I got, I got burned.
I went through my sales pitch. I answered so many questions, only to find out I was talking to the wrong person. But here’s the kicker. They told me they were the decision maker. Oh, how? How do I make sure I’m talking to the right person?
Yeah, that’s a good question. All right, we can talk about that. How do you how do you know if you’re talking to the right person? By the way, if you’re new here, I’m Rob. And I’m Lane. And today we’re gonna talk about sniffing out the person who says, Yeah, I’m the right person. And no one else needs to be involved, even though you’ll find out later that they lied. So let’s get started.
You’re listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less enclosing more.
Do you know how many people I’ve spoken to said that they could make a decision, but they really couldn’t? Three, three now, I’m guessing at least 100? if not more, maybe hundreds? Maybe even 1000s? I don’t know. I mean, it happens to me, way too often more than I care to admit. And I finally figured out some of these ways to prevent some of that stuff happening. I learned this along the way. So I thought I’d share this. So I have a question for you Lane. Who should you be talking to when trying to sell your product? Who should you be dealing with?
Well, I like talking to the owner. But But I realized they’re not always going to be the decision maker. So if they’re not, I tried to figure that decision makers.
I’m confused when I wait. I’m confused. How? So the owner is the right person, normally, but they’re not always available or can’t?
Well, you know, I’ve seen some business where you got the, you know, the the owner, but he’s, he’s kind of sit back counting the dollar bills while he appoints someone else to run the business make that make a decision?
Sure. And he’s probably gonna feed up on the Ottoman do not doing anything, right. It’s possible, it’s more than likely. Yeah. And but you’re saying it may not be this person? It may be somebody else.
Yeah. I don’t know who that is
Okay, that’s what I thought. So this, therein lies the one of the issues. And one of the problems. And I think that is not uncommon. So in the beginning, when I started selling, I did the same thing. I wasn’t sure exactly who the right person should be. And so I feel like that’s a good place to start, don’t you I who is the right person, therefore, I know who is not the right person. And that way, I know when I’m talking to somebody other than these individuals on the team, up high in the organization. I know I have the right person. Does that make sense?
Yeah. But I can’t wait to see where you’re going with this. Because I still don’t understand how you’re going to know that the right person, when you can ask someone if they’re the right person, they go Yo, yes, I’m the right person to talk to. I’m Mr. Important.
Yes, well, so here’s the key, and that we’re gonna get to this early then. And just because I say this early doesn’t mean you have to stop listening, by the way. But the key is just because they can say no, doesn’t mean they’re the right person. So there’s a couple questions you need to ask to find out if they’re the person who can say no, versus the person who can say, yes, yes, that is the difference, right? First, identify the person who’s going to make your sale a success by figuring out who is actually the person that typically usually makes the real decision. I think the first step in this is who usually is the right person that you talk to, in order to get a sale, you have to identify who will make your sale a success, right? So if you think about who have you worked with before, and you just mentioned, in your case, the owner of the business is usually a good person to talk to talk to Right. Right. And if you didn’t talk to them, what are the odds that you would actually get the sale? slim? slim? Right yeah. So why did you continue down the road knowing in the back of your head I knew you know it I know you know it you were like, Oh, this person has the right but I know this person even though they told me I know they’re not I know that
you’re hopeful though.
I know but hope is not going to close a sale ever.
It doesn’t pay the bills either. I know.
No. I know. I you know, I tried to pay my phone bill with with hope one time I said Listen, I have lots of hope over here.
How did Verizon take that?
Yeah, they did not take that. Well. They were like yeah, we hope you’ll pay your bill we shut you off. So that’s alright, so hope doesn’t sell or hope doesn’t buy anything. That’s fine. If you’re going to go through the process of talking to somebody, make sure you’re talking to the right person, why even try to talk to the wrong person, right? Here’s some phrases or things you need to do to get yourself in front of the right person. If you’re talking to somebody who you feel like, isn’t the owner, you could ask some questions to find out who the owner is, or more. So let’s back it up even further, you get an inbound email or request for a call or request for request for a meeting, you do a little research and you find out owner is Joe. But Mary is calling you or vice versa, you know, you’re not talking to the right person. Usually, well, that’s what happens with me when I get a call, or I get something that comes inbound. I’ll take a second do a little quick research, I’ll look online, look on the online database for the state and see, okay, who owns this company? Who should I be talking to? I’ll look at their website and see the About Us page, who’s the owner who started at why they started, do a little research there. So now when I call back and Mary or Joe, whoever is not the real person, I talked to that person and I say to them, Hey, how you doing? You called me left me a voicemail? Yeah. Okay. And sometimes I’ve even been as bold as to say, all right, we could go through that I’d be happy to sit down with you guys go through a couple of questions, because I know you guys are going to have some questions. Probably one of them is how much is this going to cost? But you know, let’s let’s talk about setting up a meeting then if that’s what we’re gonna do in this, obviously, after a couple minutes of conversation and finding out there is a little bit of pain, there’s a little bit of need, and there’s interest. And so all right, I go in skeptical, but I say to them, what are the odds of Joe joining us on this meeting? And sometimes there’s an awkward silence just like that. Yeah,
I could imagine. Yeah, absolutely. Oh,
what do you mean? Yeah. And I said, Well, you know, I did a quick Snoop, you know, a call and I wanted to know who you guys were, because I didn’t really I wasn’t familiar with you guys. And I think it’s pretty cool. With some of the stuff that I saw on the website, I noticed that Joe was the person that ran the company. And I thought, you know, Joe’s probably got some thoughts, some insights, some ideas, and I want you to be a part of that too. But I also thought, you know, he might want to be a part of it, too. Because sometimes Listen, I’ve gone into these meetings before where I come out, we have ideas of what we know we need to do and get accomplished. We walk out of there saying this is the direction we’re going. And then once you know it, Joe says, You know, I want to do this too, or I want to do that instead. And then I go well, that’s not even the same price. We talked about this price and your time. Now I’m going to sound like a fool. And that’s kind of the story that I’ll tell this person. So I’ll tell Mary, I don’t want to put you in a bad position. I want to, I want to make it so that we’re getting what Joe wants. We get what you want to because I know you’re calling me because you want this too, right? I mean, this is there’s there’s not just because you have to right? There’s a nice, yeah. So there’s a vested interest on there. So what I’m trying to do is make them this this partner in in this process, right? They’re going to be a friend, they’re going to be an ally, if you will, who’s going to help us get to the right person and get to the sale? Now what can happen is what they could say, Joe is not going to want to do the meeting, or Yeah, Joe told me to take care of it. Yeah. Yeah. What do you do?
Yeah, that would be my probably my responses. You know, I’m I, I’m running interference here. So you’re talking to me first.
Fair enough. Fair enough. And that’s probably more efficient. So my that’s my response that’s probably more efficient on Joe’s part. Can I share with you one of the challenges that I run into? We’ll go through this exercise, we’ll run into some challenges. And we still need to refer over to Joe, because there’s some extra things he knows that you and I both don’t know. Can you ever foresee that happening at all? Do you think that’ll happen at all?
It could unlikely but it could. Alright,
Let’s do this. And let’s assume that we’re going to be okay, figuring this out on our own. But if we get to a point where we’re going to need some input from Joe, can we just have him join us for like 5, 10 minutes to answer our very pointed, easy questions to answer that Joe is going to be able to answer? I think we can bring them into the room or into the call.
And usually, they will usually be like, yeah, yeah, it’s probably a good idea. Then next, because they don’t want to look like a fool, right? So I’m kind of positioning everything so that we’re doing this together. And we’re going to kind of make sure that they look good, I don’t want them to look bad, because as soon as I make them look bad, they’re not going to want to proceed any further. And so that’s one of those things. The other thing that I might ask is, I might say, you know, usually when I deal with people that call me, the financial officer, or the person in charge of writing checks, it’s somebody that’s different than Joe, I’m sure they usually have some sort of, say in the numbers, or they have some saying, Hey, we’re not doing that because it costs too much, or it’s gonna be this much her or it’s too low, we need three bids or whatever. And, you know, should we involve them as well, and they’re usually less likely to fight you on that one, because they want to make sure that they get the money as well. Right. And that’s all lined up. Yeah. But if they if they do fight you and they say no, you know, the CFO is not going to join us at any time. They’re just going to give you the stamp of approval there, that’s a note that I’m gonna write myself because at some point, that conversation is going to come back up. And it’s going to go something a little like this, where it’s going to be later on in the conversation, we’ve gone through some of the pains, we know what it’s costing them, let’s say per month, for a week, per day, whatever it is, and now we have an option to say, here’s what’s gonna roughly look like in terms of numbers from an investment side. is now a good time to bring the financial person in. Yeah, is now a good time. And that’s what usually when they say, Yeah, let’s do that. Because this may be a bigger bigger number than then I’m thinking it could be or they can say, you know, what, that’s actually within my, my levels that I have approval to use. And now you know, okay, there are at least involved, and they have the ability to write some checks or get some budget peeled off for that amount.
You’d almost think you’ve done this a couple times. Rob.
Yeah. You’d be surprised how many times this conversation comes up. And I think it’s important to know, if you’re talking to the right person, and then the issue usually becomes, as you know, they’ll lie, right? So how do you know and I think you’ll find out pretty quickly when you start asking some basic questions. And if you’ve been doing any sort of sales for your organization, you know, who you should be talking to. So when you’re not, that’s when you start asking these questions, and you start positioning things as if you’re trying to help them make this better and make this easier for them to get what they need. If you find out that in this process, they are looking for this solution that you’re selling, they’re saying, We need a new website pad, and we have this problem. And it’s not converting and it’s not doing this and it looks ugly, it’s dated, it’s aged, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, it’s slow. All these things, it’s not backed up, whatever, they have a vested interest in this. So they’re going to hold on tight to making sure that it happens, right, it’s getting all the players involved. And that’s really the key, I think the thing to know is usually it’s not one person who is solely responsible for making the sale or making the decision to say yes, it’s usually a couple people, depending the size of the business, and the bigger the business, the more hands that are in the pot a little bit. And so another question you could ask at some point in the meeting is when you’ve bought something similar to this before, like I know, you’ve bought marketing stuff before, how did you guys decide whether or not to go with a particular person or vendor or a company or not? Was there anything you base it on? How did you guys decide that? So as a web company, you can say, you know, you’ve made decisions to print things, you’ve just made some decisions to do some things online, buying ads and doing different things. Those are all like marketing and advertising and different elements that all fit together, when you guys did that before who who was involved in that decision, who was involved in deciding whether or not to use the company or not, who is involved in making sure that the funds were there so that it could get taken care of. And when you start asking those questions, you’ll start to find out real fast, who should be involved and who doesn’t need to be involved. But you’ll also know that a little bit of their process to write you’ll understand that their processes is that so and so it doesn’t get involved into this stage. And I’ve literally asked some of those questions and on their end, walk me through the whole process. It’s incredible. And I go, Okay, so at this point, we’re going to get a dud, this or this point, we’re gonna get a check. Okay. All right. Suppose that and we know when this is all going to happen?
Do you have a question about sales call or text your question at 608-708-SLOW, that’s 608-708-7569. Or you can email them to Questions@TheSlowPitch.com. Now, back to the show.
And now Lane, what if they say, you’re not going to talk to the CEO? Ever? Sorry, what do you do now?
Well, I guess at that point, you have to decide if if you’re talking to someone that can actually facilitate the conversation of the sale? Or if you’re just going to cut it off and say, I don’t think this is going to go anywhere. So you basically fish or cut bait?
Yeah, essentially. And I think the key becomes talking through when purchases that you’ve gone through before. So when you’ve talked in the sales meeting before, and the CEO was involved, and they’re comfortable with that, and you’ve described all of that, and they say you’re still not talking to that person, then you have to understand that they have to put themselves into a position of knowing what could go wrong for them. And so I’ll usually say something along the lines of Alright, no problem. I totally understand. I didn’t expect to talk to him or her. Here’s what I just want to make sure that we’re both on the same page on and I don’t want this to happen. But when I’ve done this before, things got so sideways, because once the CEO got involved, and I don’t know like, I don’t know a CEO out there that doesn’t think bigger than the rest of the everybody else on the in the company. Like do you think we’re way ahead stuff that I’ve never thought of? And all of a sudden something gets thrown in? It’s a little bit weird and different. So when that happens, can you help me just maneuver through that because it’s not unusual for a CEO to come up with some idea that’s way better than something that you and I may be talking about. Just because they see things differently and they’re their job is in the day to day their job is In the visionary stuff, they’re looking further ahead than we are. And that’s okay. That’s what they should be doing. But when we get there, can you help me maneuver through that? So that we’re not messing stuff up for that? And usually they’re like, yeah, that’s fine. Okay. When we get to the end of the conversation, and we have to make some sort of a decision that will either go or no go, if you will, right? whether or not we’re going to start working together, or we’re not going to start working together, how’s that process going to work? And have them explain that to you so that you can help understand how they’re going to make the decision who’s going to be involved? And if they don’t tell you who have them explain that to you. And then when they get to the point of, this is what we’re going to do, here’s who’s going to be involved, then start asking for those individuals. Because there’s a point where companies get large enough, the CEO should not be involved. But there’s a level. So for somebody like you who does, you know, hosting and websites and different things, right, you could handle a pretty good sized company where they’re gonna say the CEO has no idea what we’re where we host our stuff. They don’t care. They just want to know that works. Right. Right. But who is your it? The head of it? Yeah, probably, that might be the person you want to talk to. So knowing who you should be talking to who it should be brought down to when it’s appropriate. But always, always start higher than you should, because it’s easier to roll downhill than it is to push your way up. Right? So if I call, why wouldn’t you just start with a call to the CEO? Why would you just start knowing Hey, probably not gonna get anywhere with that person? probably not gonna be the one making the decisions, probably not going to be the one that’s going to be involved in all the meetings. But what would hurt if you called the CEO and said, Hey, Karen, you know, I don’t know if this is a conversation we should be having or not, but I got your name here. We and somebody said, I should be talking to you about this issue, hosting speed on your website, different things. I don’t know if we should be talking about that. Is that is that accurate? Should we or should I not even be doing this? And she says, you know, that is an issue we’re dealing with? Yeah, I wondered. That’s why I got the name here. Somebody gave it to me. I don’t know who gave it to me. It doesn’t really matter. But when when she says that, oh, so who do you think I should talk to? And then she says, Well, I think you need to talk to you know, Joe over in it. Yeah, no, Joe, that name doesn’t sound familiar. I don’t know that person. I got your name. I don’t know that. She goes, Well, yeah, Joe. So it’s all right, Joe, okay. You wouldn’t happen to want to connect us with, like just either an email or phone call just maybe a three way call real quick to let them know, we’re connecting. And you’d be surprised. You’d be surprised. Some of them will just go. Yeah, I could do that. And if you’re in person, it’s even easier for them. They’re like, yeah, right down the hall. I’ll take you over there. But sometimes it’s a matter of, they’ll connect you with an email and say, Hey, you know, Joe, you know, Rob and I were just talking. And, you know, we were talking about the speed of our website and the speed of our system. And you know, we I know, we’ve been talking about this issue, would you mind talking around for a few minutes and see what we can do? Well, guess what Joe is gonna think?
Yeah, he’s, yeah, it’s you’ve been endorsed by the CEO.
Yes. And have you been? No, absolutely not? I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe you have? Maybe you haven’t? And will she still maybe have to make a decision be involved? Maybe. But she’s trusting Joe. So before that our conversation ends when she’s doing that introduction? What if, what if, at the end of the conversation you say, all right, Karen, I really appreciate your time. Thank you for doing the introduction. Joe and I are going to take it from here. But before you leave just one quick question. If Joe and I start talking, and we get through this whole process, and I know it takes time, we’re going to it’s going to be a week, two weeks, three weeks, whatever it’s going to take for us to get through this, figuring out what’s needed. And you know, what the numbers look like, and all that kind of stuff. When we get to the end of that. And Joe says, this, this is a good thing we can do. And this is a good price. And this is good, good, good all the way around. Does he need to come to you to ask for all the funds and everything else? Or is he is he good with just making the decision? Because I know everybody’s a little different. I’m okay, by the way, I just wanna make sure that if I’m, if we need to come back and ask you, I want to make sure we do that. And she’s gonna say,
Nine times out of 10 is gonna be
Yeah, no, yeah. It could be no, right. It could be the one. And if she says, Yeah, you need to come back to me. Okay. Then when it’s time, would you mind if we just reached back out to you? And we’ll just kind of have a quick overview of what we decided and what we’re doing. And then they go through the numbers. Yep, no problem. Or she can say no, doesn’t don’t don’t need me at all. I said, Okay, you know, we don’t need you at all great, then I just want to make sure that, you know, Joe’s chose able to talk through these things and get through the numbers, and we’re gonna be all set. So I again, I appreciate your time. Thank you. And Joe, let’s, let’s have a quick conversation. And off Karen goes, but Joe thinks she and I have a great, great relationship already.
Do you think he’s gonna go ask Karen? Oh, heck no. He’s not gonna ask Karen. Hey, how do you know, Rob? Or how do you know? No. Now maybe she might send them a quick note, say, Hey, listen, that was a cold call. I don’t know I’ve not had that happen. But it could. But it’s an interesting way to do it. So when they kick you down, that’s kind of how you deal with it. And that can happen at any level if you end up calling because the highest person you can reach is the VP and they are overseeing it and different things. That might be the way you have that conversation with the VP when you end up talking to the IT person. So That’s one way to do it. And the other thing to know is that if you deal with a gatekeeper like you’ve got their, their admin, yep, yeah. How do you deal with an admin? How do you treat an admin,
I would treat them with the same degree of respect you with the CEO, because they’re gonna know everyone in the company, and they’re gonna decide whether you talk to the CEO or not
Absolutely true. The biggest mistake I see new salespeople make is they treat the admin like a regular, call it, secretary or the gatekeeper at the front door, whose job is to make sure nobody gets in who doesn’t belong to talk to somebody, the admin for the CEO of VP, they have some clout, they’re not somebody you mess with. And they’re not somebody you treat like any other hourly employee there, they’re as good as and nine times out of 10, better than the CEO or the VP of getting things done. Yeah. Because what I found is that admins have a system to follow up on things to make sure things are done so that the VP the CEO, doesn’t find out, they’re not done later. Whereas the CEO will say, Can we do this, they he or she may forget, may not write it down to remember later. But the admin is going to make sure you know the CEOs for this. And they’re going to follow up, make sure it’s done. So do not treat them lightly. They will help. You have to make sure that they are open your conversation. But you also have to make sure that they can work with you, even though if you have that conversation with the admin. And they say this is not the right person, you should be talking to the CEO, but you should be talking to someone so use the same technique, have them kick it to the VP the other person Joe down in it had that same conversation, you know, you would you mind kind of connecting us and kind of helping me explain what we’re doing, because that person will have just as much clout as the CEO. Now again, same thing, will they go ask the CEO later? Probably not. Right? So
Yep, probably not.
Right. Does that help?
Yeah, that’s that’s great information that that’s very helpful.
So to wrap all this up, how do you know if you’re talking to the right person, how to get in front of the right person kind of intertwine? Right, and you have to know who you’re supposed to talk to, based on your history? Who should be involved? And don’t get confused with this or person that says, No, you’re not you’re not the right person for the job? versus the person who can say yes, that’s a big difference between those two. Anybody can say no. And, and honestly, usually has a fun time saying it to there. Who didn’t get the job? Right? That’s usually the way that if that’s what a power trip, yeah, the power trip, right? But if you were talking to the person that can say yes, that’s the key and interviewing and asking the right questions along the way, those will get there. So what you need to find out is what are those questions that are gonna get you to the answer of Are they the right person? And then honestly, having the guts to ask those questions, nine times out of 10 it’s the guts to be able to do what you need to do to find out the information. Make sure the right person is in front of you are involved in the process, and making sure that along the way, they’re committed to making that decision, yes or no, it doesn’t matter to you whichever way it is. They make that decision for you. So I hope that helps. And until next time, Lane and Doug. We’ll see ya.
Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Slow down and close more.