I'd have to say "no!" I am convinced that great sellers know that "right makes might."
"What am I missing here," you might ask. "Do you mean to tell me that the person who can write the check doesn't have the ultimate power in a sales interaction?" Yes, that's what I mean to tell you unless the potential check writer is the sole owner-proprietor (and often, not even then).
If you have astutely targeted a customer who you "know" can meaningfully benefit from your product or service, and you are practiced enough to be able to clearly articulate that benefit, then you have a powerful, other-directed mandate to sell it through. To some degree, the health, welfare and growth of that customer will hinge on a favorable decision by the check writer to take pen in hand.
Let's take a few scenarios:
1) He/she won't take your first or second call: In this case you call his/her boss and ask them for meeting and when you are directed back to "he/she" you say, "I'm happy to do that but notwithstanding the potential importance to your company, he/she" wouldn't take my call. May I see you or would you like me to try them again and let you know how I make out?"
Either way, you get the meeting. At the very least, the "boss" will tell the check writer to see you and get you off "his/her" back, at which point you do and make your case. Of course, if by some chance that doesn't work, you go up another rung in the hierarchical ladder.
2) Here's a more interesting scenario: This time you've had a meeting or two. The issue is still in doubt, and each party agrees there are remaining questions to be answered that require thought or research and agree on a follow-up meeting. When you are prepared to present your findings, after a sensible number of attempts to make contact without any luck, it's clear you are being ducked.
At that juncture you write, the following: "Hi, Mr. Jones notwithstanding what seemed to be a productive first meeting at the conclusion of which we agreed to meet again, I haven't been able to get through. Out of respect, and appreciation for your time last month, I want to tell you that I believe our services to be of such importance to your company, that I will be reaching out to meet with someone up the corporate ladder."
You'll be called back by the end of the day, for meeting number two.
3) Sole Proprietor: You did the research. You got the meeting. It convinced you that you were not only right in the value you bring to the table, it's thrice what you imagined and THE ONLY CHECK WRITER SAYS "No can/won't do."
Now because you are so sure you can help; You are so sure that you can be impactful for his business; You are so sure "you're RIGHT," you say, "Mr. Jones, I too have been afraid to pull the trigger on opportunities in the past and passage of time made me wish that I'd been a little more rational and courageous. The operative word of course was "too" and there's a pretty good chance you'll have reopened the conversation.
Being other-directed and RIGHT gives you all the power you need to be Great!
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 email@example.com.
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