Reaching the decision makerJeff Barrsales tips, motivation, training
I have tried many ways over the years to reach the decision
maker. It takes a lot of effort to make the right contacts and
effectively make sales. Too often, efforts are made with the wrong
contact person. The following are pointers for salespeople. This
applies to seasoned professionals or those just embarking on their
•Listen to cues that a company may give you. Make sure you
are directing yourself to the right person.
•Never meet a stranger, and remember that your mission as
a salesperson is to find a way to diplomatically and professionally
meet the decision maker.
•Not all sales tactics work, so be prepared to try more
than once to get the attention of the necessary party. I once
delivered a giant cookie to the client with his logo on it. It also
asked the client to give me a call. My boss said that he turned out
not to be a gimmick guy.
•A few years ago, while working at a mortgage company, we
tried to warm the hearts of the agents with the 10/10/10 method.
For 10 weeks, we delivered 10 gifts to 10 new real estate agents.
The gifts they received became progressively nicer from a pen to a
letter opener. The strategy produced few measurable results but
many new gifts for the agents. We did get their attention for about
30 seconds when we were able to see them.
•Being persistent does pay off. While working for a bank,
I called on a guy who was never there. I left 10 business cards
over a period of four weeks. He finally returned my calls and we
developed a strong relationship and sales with his three
•Through civic organizations, I have been able to meet
many people. This allows me to find a common bond with many
decision makers. As a result, I am able to build a relationship
that have nurtured into business deals. It takes time and
•Many times, executives can be reached after hours. Try to
call at odd times and not the first thing in the morning or before
they leave. I have broken the ice with a letter or some prior
communication before calling as well.
•Distinguish yourself from others. Clearly explain the
benefit of doing business with you and your company. Do not be just
•If you do not know the subject's answers, find them out
and follow up in a timely fashion.
•Develop a relationship with the gatekeeper if you are
calling on the subject face to face. The secretary or assistant can
make or break your ability to see or contact the key person you are
•Remember, you may only get one chance to speak to the
decision maker, so be prepared at all times for the opportunity
when it may strike. It is imperative to do your due diligence via
the Internet or any legitimate means for timely and objective
•Follow the news and read about the posture of the
business community in your area. People like to be stroked for
their accomplishments. Drop them a note and offer them your
congratulations. Soft selling often works.
I have 25 years of sales experience, selling to numerous
industries. I have sold top executives to middle management. Your
style and demeanor may be different in the sales process when
approaching the decision maker. Persistence has paid off for me.
For example, many years ago, I worked five entire years to land a
top account for my company. Please remember to be professional even
if your prospect is not. You cannot sell every deal, so do not
Maintain a good and honest reputation for the products you
market and service. Gain the knowledge you need to present the
product in the easiest manner for the customer to gain maximum
benefit. Customer service always matters before and after you have
reached the decision maker. Your sales, commission and company's
profits are counting on it.
Jeff Barr is a competent toastmaster and speaker in
Louisville, Ky., an adjunct professor of communications at the
University of Louisville and a mortgage loan officer. He can be
reached at (502) 777-9555 or e-mail at email@example.com.