Sales 101 reminds you to make sure that you are dealing with the decision maker to effect a partnership (start thinking and using the word "partnership" instead of "sale," so that you start behaving like a partner instead of a dime a dozen salesman).
I'm hoping that you are reading this because you are determined to "ace" Sales 201. This course requires you to understand that an effective decision maker will not only listen carefully to a "worth listening to" salesman, but also to those working for him that will be affected by his decision.
So for example, the 101 graduate gets himself a Venti Latte after a good job pitching a new marketing program to a CEO decision maker. "Hey, why not a Latte, and expense it at that, I got to the CEO"?
The CEO, in fact, was impressed. Enough so to send the proposal down to the CMO who unfortunately was not in the meeting (CMO? What CMO?), and who happened to have had a latte, and a raspberry scone, just the day before with our "undergraduate's" competitor who was pitching a similar program, that in this CMO's opinion, expressed intelligently and subsequently to the CEO, was the preferred solution.
And the CEO? "Hey, of the two guys telling me what to do here, only one of them has my complete trust (that's why he works for me) and after all, marketing is his area of responsibility. Good leadership requires me to take his sensibly expressed advice."
Here's the lesson folks. You must have the decision maker and his influencers in the loop to make it happen. How will you know who the influencers are?
"Mr. Jones. Thanks for the appointment. I know how busy you must be. Who else might have a stake in our discussion that I might invite with your permission?"
A good decision maker won't be offended by your question. He'll be impressed.
Bob Sherman has 40 years experience managing relationships between media companies and advertisers in old and new media from radio, cable and TV to the Internet, and from sales executive to chief executive and from the biggest media corporations to his own entrepreneurial companies. He is currently in partnership with Pilot Group, LLC. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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