Those of you proposing and selling in the commercial marketplace need to excel at exposing stumbling blocks (deal killers). You should be as effective at this as you are identifying and influencing the players (deal makers). All sellers have been coached over and over on strategies to get face-to-face with the latter group, but probably have not been given much help with the former group. On pages 153-156 in Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word, I discuss the categories of buyers and influencers, and will quickly mention them here for context. (The titles for these four groups were conveyed by me)
- There are Funnels, who functions like coaches although they don’t approve deals. Their role is to open doors and “break the code” to expose you to key players within the enterprise. Examples might be a Security Officer or an Instrumentation Technician.
- Fiscal Buyers are “Mr. /Ms. Big.” They are the final authorities, regardless of title, for purchasing services and products, and closing deals.
- Function influencers weigh in to determine the impact of what you’re selling on the job performance of employees. They are also umpires on the day to day operation of the facility. Examples of this group might be Maintenance Engineers or Department Supervisors. The larger the business the more of these may be embedded throughout the company.
- The fourth group are Formula authorities. These specialists match products and services to company specifications and requirements. The more complex the business, the more of these folks there will be. Examples can include Quality Assurance Managers and Purchasing Agents.
Focus Your Attention Here
When exposing stumbling blocks it’s crucial to focus on the last two groups above; the Function and the Formula influencers. Although neither group can say yes, they can and will say no. They will regularly screen out products and services they determine don’t meet specs. They also focus anything causing too much heartburn to incorporate into their operation.
These stumbling blocks may also feel your solution might point out deficiencies in their portion of the kingdom. They may worry that you are casting doubt on their ability to perform their jobs. This may occur even when your intent is to help productivity and achieve better results. Remember, stumbling blocks may have bad tastes in their mouths from sellers who previously didn’t deliver what was promised.
The best way to identify these deal killers early and often is to realize that questions are your best friend. Here are some of my solid ones to ask, in order to avoid being involved in boardroom “train wrecks”:
- Who are the people that you know I should be aware of, that I don’t know?
- In what areas will I get the most push back to changes my solution might suggest?
- What department will probably feel like my recommendation is a bad idea?
- What job positions, if any, do you anticipate eliminating as a result of these changes?
- Can you think of a time when your company stalled while trying to implement a change like this? What caused that?
Start seeking out the stumbling blocks in companies you are attempting to work with. Once identified, try to understand their positions and concerns. This is a great first step to eventually gaining their blessing. The deal killers you are struggling with today could become important deal making influencers tomorrow. Start assessing and asking!
————This is Good Stuff!————
Doug, after your online video coaching session about comparison checklists I really focused on the homeowner questions for contractors and closed 8 out of the last 10 jobs I’ve gone to! Tyler Payne, Barineau HVAC Get to know Doug here.
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