Whenever I do sales training, business coaching, or train our own employees, there are a couple of things that are absolutely vital to learn for success. Talking to the right people is one of them.
Always talk to the decision maker. I could end the blog post right there, because that is the core truth, but let’s dig a little bit deeper. It baffles me how many entrepreneurs and companies send out proposals and schedule meetings with people that have to get someone else’s approval for the project.
I actually did this mistake quite recently, and although the man I was pitching to insisted that he was authorized to make a budget decision, I should have done my research, because in the end he couldn’t make the decision. It created a situation that could have been avoided. Won’t happen again!
One of the first questions you should ask when pre-qualifying someone is if they are the sole decision maker for whatever you are pitching or selling them. If they say no, then don’t do any pitching or selling until their boss (or whoever makes the decision) is there with you.
Why? Because you don’t want someone else, often seen as an inferior person, pitching your product or service. First of all, they might only remember parts of what you said, and they might not be as enthusiastic as you are, they will definitely not be able to answer any questions, and you end up with someone giving a half-assed pitch about something you have built with your own blood, sweat and tears.
If you’re pitching a husband/wife, ask if they need the significant other to make decisions, if you’re pitching a company, make sure the decision maker is there, if you’re pitching an entrepreneur and he/she needs to ask his/her accountant, make sure the accountant is there.
Never, EVER, do a pitch without the decision maker being there. If you show up for a meeting, and decision maker decides he/she has something more important to do, and his/her coworkers/employees tell you, “it’s fine, you can tell us, and we’ll forward the information,” just cancel the meeting and set a new time. You should be the one in control, and there will be many blog posts about how to maintain control and be the authority in pitching situations coming up.
TL;DR – Save time and money, talk to the right people (the decision makers).
Incoming search terms: