A Secret to Riding the Highs and Lows of Sales
Inherent in the roles of entrepreneur and sales professional is the desire to bring more business to our respective organizations. Naturally, this comes with highs and lows—the high of landing a new client and the low of a loss we thought we surely had in the bag.
It makes sense that those of us who will succeed in our respective businesses are the ones who best manage the emotional roller coaster of sales.
One of the ways I have found to keep the roller coaster in check and to put my best foot forward is to have a blueprint to follow.
On mornings when I’m riding the high of a big win, I resort to a blueprint as a means of grounding myself and focusing on what’s next. On mornings when I’m dusting myself off from a loss, I return to a blueprint as a means of moving forward again rather than wallowing in self-pity.
A successful sales blueprint includes a number of key elements. Perhaps the most important element is the identification of who we should talk to at a prospective client company.
Too many times we miss opportunities because we have not properly identified who we should spend our time with at a new, prospective client. Many times we focus on one individual who we are comfortable talking to. But does that person actually hold the key decision-making ability? Very seldom does one person hold this ability. Therefore, it is critical for the blueprint to identify all the people who may influence the client’s purchase decision.
Who are these decision makers and influencers?
Here are four:
1. The signature
One or more people have final authority to sign a deal. They can also shut down a deal at the last moment even if all the other people involved indicate that they want to proceed. As a seller it is important for us to identify this decision maker and figure out how to make a strong impression on him or her either directly or by working with someone whose opinion they trust.
2. The practitioner
One or more people, generally practitioners, would use your service or solution on a daily basis and, therefore, be involved in the purchase decision. From my experience, sellers most often find themselves in front of these practitioners. But it is important to realize that the purchase decision is not made solely by this person or group of people. However, depending on the type of decision and the roles of the other three players, practitioners can certainly play a key role in either decision making or influencing the decision makers.
3. The evaluator
This person will evaluate the specifications of your service or solution to determine its fit given all other variables at play. In IT services, for example, client environments and solutions are highly technical. Prospective clients can screen you in or out based on their current environment and how your solution would work within it.
4. The linchpin
This person is key. A linchpin is someone who can guide a seller through the decision-making levels of an organization and help match the offering to the needs of the organization. These people have direct connections to the key individuals described above. These people believe in us and in our offering. When we have identified and secured a linchpin, we are that much closer to securing a win at that prospect.
Having a blueprint to follow in identifying decision makers and influencers provides a foundation for us to use when we are riding the emotional highs and lows that are natural within the entrepreneurial and sales world. I suggest we take the time to look at how we are currently pursuing new clients. Take an inventory of the people with whom we are talking and map out their roles in the buying decision. This process will help us identify strengths and weaknesses in our push to win the work.
Question: Do you see evidence of these four types of buyers in your sales and business development pursuits? Do you think one of the roles is more important than the others?