Let’s talk about the unsung heroes of your pipeline: Decision-Makers. If you’re a deal-closer, you know the journey with your prospect is a dance — a tango through decisions. Your mission? Find the decision overlord in a company (spoiler alert, it’s not the intern in the breakroom).
Who Has the Power?
Before you flex your negotiation muscles, you need to find out who’s holding the golden key to that corporate treasure chest. We’re talking about the big gun who says “yay” or “nay” to the deal. You gotta aim for the top.
The Five Types of Decision-Makers & Their Personalities
Every business decision-maker fits into one of five categories. Credit to Miller-Williams Inc., who conducted a two-year study, for breaking this down. Now let’s dial into how you ID these decision czars.
Step 1: Hunt Down the Kingpin
Start stalking—professionally, of course—the company’s website. They usually parade their VIPs right there. If it’s a ghost town, LinkedIn is your second best hunting ground. Watch out for title discrepancies; one man’s Director of Sales is another’s Sales Director. So, stay sharp, friends.
Step 2: Bag the Right Info
Gathering emails and digits is a grind. Finding the right contact information for a corporate decision-maker is akin to striking gold. It’s the pivotal first step in bypassing gatekeepers and getting your product or service in front of someone who has the authority to make purchasing decisions. The trick is to employ a multi-pronged approach, leveraging both technology and networking to gather the most accurate details.
Step 3: Decode the Decision DNA
Identifying the grandmaster is just Act One. Your next quest is to unravel the knotted ball of yarn that’s their decision-making psyche. The decision architecture varies by factors like age, company culture, and individual quirks.
Miller-Williams found that decision-making styles are basically a five-flavor assortment: Charismatics, Thinkers, Skeptics, Followers, and Controllers. Most sales pitches are tailored for just two of these types, which, FYI, represent a measly 28% of all execs. Rookie mistake!
Conquer with Precision: The 5 Archetypes
1. Charismatics (25%)
The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Charismatics are your fast talkers and flashy peacocks. While they’re entranced by the glitz and glam, they’ve been burned before. Hence, they want hard facts before diving in.
Pro Strategy: Hit ’em with outcomes. Show them how to mitigate risks without dulling the sparkle.
2. Thinkers (11%)
These guys are your librarians of the business world. All they want is every last shred of data. They play it safe and need every angle calculated.
Pro Strategy: Information dump—Market research, case studies, cost-benefit analyses. Drown them in data.
3. Skeptics (19%)
Ah, the perpetual side-eye givers. They’re your tough cookies who question everything and everyone.
Pro Strategy: Establish street cred fast. Skeptics make quick choices but not before they’ve grilled you thoroughly.
4. Followers (36%)
The majority rule is, Followers want tried-and-true solutions. These are your careful calculators, always hedging their bets.
5. Controllers (9%)
Similar to Skeptics but with a God complex. Controllers believe they’re the smartest in the room and love playing gatekeeper to the decision-making process.
Pro Strategy: Serve the data and step back. Let them think they discovered fire.
Your Not-So-Secret Weapon: Adaptability
We make around 35,000 choices a day, give or take. As a sales pro, you influence a bunch of those. So, match your pitch style to align with the decision-maker’s persona. It’s not about selling your way; it’s about selling THEIR way.
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