There are buyers who have goals and then there are the negotiators. These are the purchasing type people who’s sole job is to get lower prices. All they do is negotiate. If you want to sell major deals, you need to spend more time with buyers than you do negotiators. Now purchasing people aren’t all bad; they have a job to do. Some negotiate major deals and they do look for value. But having said that, you also need to get to buyers and to users.
Let me give you an example. One of our clients sells solar panels system, and so it’s critical that they get to the industry, the senior administrators at the corporate, the worker, anyone who might benefit from their product, and they need to do that before they start to work with purchasing. So I want you to think about what you sell and really think about who are the users, who might be the senior people who might benefit, who in the periphery might be impacted by what you sell.
So, there are a few clues and a few questions you can ask early in the buying process to determine what type of person you’re meeting with. So some first clues. Their title, use LinkedIn to your benefit, it’s likely that your counterpart’s title will give you some indication of their ability to make decisions. Early in the meeting look at their body language. Are they tense? How are they sitting? Are they someone who’s just trying to game the meeting, or are they really engaged? The opening of the meeting, if they open talking about price, there’s a good chance that you’re not meeting with the buyer, you’re just meeting with the negotiator.
Related: The Three Kinds of Negotiations
So there’s some questions you can ask to suss out whether a person is one or the other. You might ask, who else would be helpful in this discussion? Will we need agreement from other parties moving forward? Who’s going to be the primary contact for this account? Then start asking questions like, who are the key users? Who else will be affected? If you find yourself meeting with a negotiator, you wanna make sure that you establish that you’re also gonna be meeting with others.
So you wanna say things like, you know it’s really critical for us to understand the impact that this solution will have on your users and your customers, so we wanna include them. Or you might say something like, in our organization, we always make sure we meet with senior leaders before we sign a deal. We want to ensure that our solution meets their strategic objectives. If you sell something big or something complex, if it has a high dollar value, and if you sell to big companies, you are probably going to have multiple decision makers.
Related: When To Negotiate And When Not To?
And very likely at some point, you will have to go through purchasing a procurement, so you don’t want to alienate these important people. But your job as a noble purpose seller is to make sure that you’ve created value elsewhere so your deal will hold.