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Selling to Multiple Decision-Makers

Warning: Major Delay Ahead!

By Michael Leimbach, PhD, David Yesford(傅大卫)

Nothing derails a sale faster than multiple decision-makers! And, while more than 85 percent of opportunities involve multiple decision-makers, most organizations do a poor job of preparing their salespeople to sell to decision-making teams.

This poor preparation causes a significant number of hits to the seller’s top and bottom line:

  • Decisions take longer and become more expensive.
  • There is an increase in the number of “no decisions.”
  • Profit margins are squeezed in efforts to satisfy everyone.
  • Implementation is delayed.

Maximizing Results with Multiple Decision-Makers

When sales organizations coach their sales teams in the concepts and skills related to managing multiple decision-makers, sales effectiveness improves.

We have found there are three keys to selling effectively to multiple decision-makers, as shown in the following framework.

Taken together, these three skills give the selling organization and the buying organization an improved chance to reach a buying decision that produces the maximum business value to both organizations.

Identifying Influence: The Influence Map

Guiding multiple decision-makers begins by identifying how decision-makers align within the Influence Map.

Many salespeople take the perspective that an individual’s title is all they need to know—but the Influence Map is more complex than that. The Influence Map is determined by two critical elements: Influence and Disposition.

Influence can take many forms—formal, informal, level of expertise, credibility, etc. If salespeople focus exclusively on formal influence (the person with the biggest title wins), they will likely draw a poor Influence Map.

It is also critical to consider a decision-maker’s Disposition—their favorable or unfavorable view of you, your company, and your solution. Two buyers with high levels of influence, one with a favorable disposition, the other with an unfavorable disposition, have to be regarded differently if you are going to win more sales.

To learn how to deal with multiple decision-makers, we ask salespeople to create a simple Influence Map that shows where each decision-maker stands on Influence (Low to High) and Disposition (Negative to Positive).

Salespeople should do this for every sales opportunity. One Influence Map does not encompass an entire buying organization; instead, each decision requires its own Influence Map. Why? A person with high influence for one purchase may be low influence for another.

More than 85 percent of opportunities involve multiple decision-makers . . . When sales organizations coach their sales teams in the concepts and skills related to managing multiple decision-makers, sales effectiveness improves.

Michael Leimbach, PhD

Michael Leimbach, PhD, is a globally recognized expert in instructional design and leadership development. As Vice President of Global Research and Development for Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc., he has worked with numerous Global 1000 organizations in Australia, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and throughout the United States. Over more than 30 years, Dr. Leimbach had developed Wilson Learning’s diagnostic, learning, and performance improvement capabilities, published over 100 professional articles, coauthored four books, been Editor-in-Chief for the highly acclaimed ADHR research journal, and is a frequent speaker at national and global conferences. He also serves on the ISO Technical Committee (TC232) on Quality Standards for Learning Service Providers and on the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development Dean’s Advisory Board.

David Yesford(傅大卫)

作为Wilson Learning 全球资深副总裁、亚太地区董事总经理,傅大卫有着30多年在全球范围内发展和实施人力绩效解决方案的经验。 傅大卫先生总能以其宝贵经验、策略方向和全球视角为客户和团队带来价值。多年来,他在Wilson Learning的核心领域——销售、领导力、e-learning和策略咨询业务上扮演着重要的角色。

傅大卫先生是多部书籍的合著者,其中包括《双赢销售》(Win-Win Selling),《灵活多变的销售人员》(Versatile Selling),《社交风格手册》(Social Styles Handbook),《销售培训2》(Traning Book 2)等。并在美国、欧洲、拉丁美洲、亚太地区的商业出版物中发表了多篇文章。他经常被邀请在国际性会议上做有关销售、领导力、员工和客户参与度提升、品牌和战略实施的演讲。