When Dorothy finally gets to the Emerald City to ask the wizard about help returning to Kansas, she is told at the front door by the mustachioed doorkeeper that “nobody can see the wizard, not nobody, not no how! This is often the scenario in our accounts when we try to find the individual with the final approval. This individual is key for being successful and often times is difficult to gain access to for various reasons.
Many times the final decision maker can purposefully remain behind a metaphorical curtain and not meet with sales people. They want to remain objective and aloof during the evaluation phase of a project so they feel they can make the tough choices needed during negotiations. This can be achieved by having staff who pose as the final decision makers. The posers say they have the final say, but in reality your proposal will ultimately go to their boss or higher up the food chain for approval.
Often, sales people can feel they can’t access the C-Suite for a meeting with the wizard. They tell themselves they are too new, too young, or not experienced enough. This ultimately comes from a lack of confidence or lack of preparation and research. Sales people need to find reasons for the contacts at this level to see a real value in meeting with them. There has to be real pay-off or benefit to the final decision maker making time in their busy calendar.
In today’s complex B2B sales environment the road to the final decision maker is not paved with yellow bricks. It can be much more difficult to identify who this person is. In large, regional, or multi national accounts the final decision maker may not even live in your geography or country. Even with accounts where everyone is in one location the financial approval structure can be tiered in such a way that finding this person can still be difficult.
The wizard was the only one who could help Dorothy, and the final decision maker is the only one who can approve spending money for your proposed solution. Salespeople who fail to reach this important contact, do it at their own peril. We know that world class sales organizations have effective and productive relationships at the executive levels of their prospective customers.
Having productive relationships with executives is only one way world-class sales organizations outpace their counterparts in the market.