Wasting valuable time being led down a rabbit hole by the wrong person can mean the difference between smashing your sales target and falling far behind. Here, we’ll show you some great strategies to ensure you’re speaking with the person calling the shots. First, let’s consider the problem at hand.
Be Aware of Potential Pitfalls
We all know the potential difficulties, but there are a couple that salespeople should be especially cautious of. The main lesson here is to consider the motivations of the people you speak to.
The first is the bored employee. Difficult as it is to believe, some people don’t have much work to do in their jobs and actually find time to get bored as hell. Present them with a hungry salesperson, and all of a sudden they’ve got something to kill that time. This person will stay on the phone and show interest to keep you engaged in the conversation. The truth of the matter? They have absolutely no decision-making power.
Key takeaway: Be cautious of people who show real enthusiasm but have potentially low status on the company hierarchy.
Another unfortunate fact is that us guys are the weaker sex and some of us have a tendency to become unprofessional and distracted by a pretty face. Women have an innate intuition that makes them great salespeople but it’s worth a mention to be wary of guys with ulterior motives as they may present themselves as a decision maker, maybe even booking a meeting, even though they’re not one.
Key takeaway: If you’re a woman, make sure you keep your strong female intuition above your desire for the sale and look out for guys who just want to spend time with a pretty face.
5 Simple Strategies to Reach The Key Decision Maker
1. Scout Ahead on LinkedIn
If you’re salesperson and you don’t have a LinkedIn account, stop reading this article right now. Head over to our Linkedin Profile Checklist then to LinkedIn.com, create an account, spend some time setting it up and start taking your job more seriously. Afterwards, scout for known associates, vendors, names and job positions, common contacts and anything else that’s relevant.
2. About Us or Company History
This one works especially well for smaller organizations. Head over to the website and check out the ‘about us’ page or ‘history’ page for the story of how the company was founded and who the company owners are. It takes 10 seconds and can save you hours of wasted time.
3. Service: PrepWork
PrepWork is a great up-and-coming service with the tagline “We make you look good”. I can personally confirm this is absolutely the case. Share your Google Calendar with the company and it delivers to you all the necessary info about who you’re meeting with. Don’t have time to scout on LinkedIn? Here’s the solution. You’re welcome.
4. Service: Rapportive
Another great service is Rapportive.com. This is a Gmail plug-in that delivers detailed and valuable insights from various social media channels, pulling information on your potential prospects from a range of resources, putting it in one convenient e-mail. What could be better?
5. Advanced Google Searches
If you punch a given first and last name into Google, you’ll get all kinds of results. Luckily, you can refine the search down like this. Search for [“first name, last name” city name]. You want to use the inverted commas either side of the name. For example:
“John Smith” Nashville
This pulls up a range of specific information that belongs to your target prospect’s name in the right city. They might say one thing on their LinkedIn profile, but other social media and Internet footprints could tell a different story.
A Final Point on Preventing Fraud
Identifying the key decision maker accurately can also help prevent fraud. We once had a situation in a phone shop where a local security company representative built a relationship with a salesperson over a couple of weeks, discussing the contract in detail.
The salesperson was fired up about the $40k commission on offer by selling 100 handsets and a subsequent order 80 handsets. After some time, he diligently made a follow-up call, only to discover the security company had never even heard of the employee.
The following day, we had the FBI in the shop asking all kinds of questions and trying to get bottom of why some guy was selling his newly acquired telephone handsets door-to-door on the street.
Bottom Line: Always spend 10 minutes doing your research. You’ll save yourself endless hours of potential trouble later on.