Decision Makers vs. Influencers

– Posted in: Buying Facilitation, Decision Makers

I’ve heard there are 5.7 decision makers for each sale, and ‘unknown’ influencers. Yet there is no difference between ‘decision makers’ and ‘influencers’.

If you want to move and your daughter is in her last year of high school, is she a decision maker or an influencer?

If your tech group isn’t available to implement a new program until they finish current work, would the tech director be an influencer or a decision maker?

If your company is going through a merger and the teams haven’t been merged yet, would the director of the groups that needed training be influencers or decision makers?

If you think some of your folks need coaching, would the coachees be influencers or decision makers?

See what I mean? “Decision Maker” and “Influencer” are arbitrary delineations. Until everyone who touches the final solution buys-in, and change is managed, no buying decision will happen, regardless of your solution or their need. Think about that when you ask for ‘the decision maker’ or believe that the one person who showed up to your appointment is ‘the decision maker.’ There is never one. And you’re merely delaying your sale.

Years ago, a coaching client selling golf carts with GPS systems once bet me $20 that the owner of a golf course was the sole decision maker. They’d been having lovely conversations for a year and my client was just waiting for him to close. I placed a call to the owner.

SDM: I’m training with William. Seems you two sort of love each other but I’m confused. What’s stopping you from buying since it seems you love our carts so much.
O:  I do love your carts. But my grounds-keeper would kill me if I bought any. He’s afraid that if the GPS system breaks down we’d run out of carts for the golfers. So it’s not my call.

My client put his $20 into my lap. They’d been having great chats for a year! Btw, I did go on to use Buying Facilitation® to have him bring the grounds keeper into the conversation at that point, and he eventually bought. But he wouldn’t have.

You’ll never know who the decision makers are and you aren’t aware what sort of internal decisions must be made. Call me to add some decision facilitation skills to what you’re already doing.

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