Jonathan Farrington just posted an excellent article with some enlightening statistics about how often sales people fail to call on all of the individuals involved in the decision making process.
Bottom line – there are normally from 3 to 6 separate individuals involved in making a business purchasing decision. Sales people normally call on an average of 1.5 of them. No wonder we’ve all come to accept average close rates of far less than 50%. We’re not even talking to over half of the people helping to make the decision!
Kudos to Jonathan for reminding us of a fundamental sales technique that is easy to forget.
Of course, the problem is that prospects make it easy to be lazy. They misrepresent their role. They tell you “I’m the sole decision maker”. Its easy for a sales rep to accept that as the truth. However, its usually not really true. As a business owner, I may be the “sole decision maker” but, I’m usually smart enough to discuss the decision with affected parties within the company to get their “buy-in” before charging ahead.
Sales people need to develop skills in the area of asking the prospect about the structure of their business and the roles of others in the organization in order to identify who the folks are that will probably be consulted about the decision.