Don’t Burn Bridges: Effective Ways To Get In Contact With Decision Makers

Decision makersMany salespeople know the frustration that comes with making a successful pitch to a customer, only to find out that this individual has no purchasing power and is actually pretty low on the company ladder.

A sales management team needs to help their representatives find ways to bypass certain individuals within a client company and get access to a decision-maker. While this may seem like a simple process, it is important that it is done in a way that will not burn any bridges with the customers.

“You always want to be inclusive, you never want to be exclusive – in terms of the context in which you approach a situation,” according to Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

Representatives want to be handed-up to a decision-maker, as trying to go around a lower ranking employee may lead to problems down the road. The best strategy is to try and network within the company, and ask straight-forward questions that will get the rep into contact with a manager or another person of influence at the business, the executive noted.

Qualifying questions such as “What role do you play in the making the decision?” or “Who else is participating with you in making the decision?” or “What is your process for making this decision?”, can help the representative figure out who to talk to at the company, noted Riddleberger.

“This allows someone to give you the information you are looking for without admitting that they are powerless in a decision,” said the executive. “If you ask them straight out, “Are you the decision maker?” you may get inaccurate information.”

A representative needs to work with people instead of setting them up to work against the company. Grace plays a role here, as the right approach can let the client know that you value the correspondence with each person in the customer’s business, according to Riddleberger.

“You need to be inclusive and professional with everyone,” noted the executive. “People are constantly changing positions and companies – you do not want to inadvertently alienate someone because chances are you will run into them again at some point. Don’t burn bridges.”

Once you get into contact with the “approver” it is important to understand how the company approaches buying. It is here that the representative must draw on past experience to determine what they are bringing to the table that their customer needs, according to Entrepreneur.com.