Paul breaks down the reasons salespeople are fearful of going around their mid-level contacts.
Remember your objective: Winning the business!
Relationships are a two-way street.
Forget the pain of the present. Focus on….
“Every time you step outside of your comfort zone you are growing.”
“Most of what you’re afraid of will never happen.”
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Why are salespeople afraid to go around their current decision makers?
(Transcribed from podcast)
So just last week, on two separate occasions with two different clients, I’ve had the same issue come up. Salespeople are fearful of going around their mid-level decision makers. And you know this. As salespeople out there, you’ve experienced this. You’re working an opportunity; you’ve built a strong relationship with some of the key decision makers, but you haven’t reached that ultimate decision maker. And salespeople then get hesitant. They’re afraid to tick off their existing contacts. They don’t want to go around them. They’re fearful of losing the opportunity. They’re fearful of jeopardizing the relationship that they have.
So on today’s episode, we’re going to talk about why is there all this fear? Why do salespeople struggle to get around—to go around rather—and get to that ultimate decision maker? So why are you afraid? We’re going to talk about that on today’s show. And I’m going to give you a couple of things to think about. Something to just get your attitude right. Because the one thing getting in the way of getting to that ultimate decision maker is not ticking off your other decision makers. It’s not about a lack of skill, it’s fear. That’s what’s getting in the way.
So before we get into that, though, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. I’ve said it numerous times, you’ve heard me on the show, podcasting is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. If you’re thinking of starting one, if you have one already, reach out to Andrea and her team over at The Creative Impostor Studios. They do a wonderful job. So reach out to her. We’re going to have a link to her website on this episode’s webpage. So check that out.
Also, as I mentioned last time, big news coming. We’ve got the new book in September. The new book is coming out in September. I just sent it to the publisher last week. McGraw-Hill—they’re taking a look at it now. We’re getting it ready. This is going to be your go-to guide for selling in a tough market, in a downturn. Whatever tough time you’re experiencing, this book is there for you.
In the meantime, though, we do have the fourth edition of Value-Added Selling available for you. So it’s available wherever you get your books. Check it out on Amazon, Barnes & Noble. It’s there for you.
So let’s get back to that question. Why are you afraid to go around those decision makers? I’m going to give you just a couple of things to think about, because it’s all about our attitude. It’s about controlling that fear. So first and foremost, remember that your objective is to win the business. In sales, yes, we create value for our customers. We solve their problems. When you think about your objective as a salesperson, it is to win the business. That’s why you exist as a salesperson is to win business. It’s not to create relationships. It’s not to be friendly with your customers. All of those things are important, but your objective is to win the business. You need to remember that. That is what should drive your decision making. Ultimately, “What is going to help me win the business?”
And creating value is certainly part of that; solving their problems is part of that; building a rapport is part of that as well. But you’ve got to remember, for you to create a certain level of value, you need to meet with that one person that can help you. And that person that’s going to help you create more value for the customer is that ultimate decision maker. So your objective is to win the business. Remember that.
Number two. I love when salespeople say, “Well, I don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with who I’m working with now.” The word relationship, it’s a two-way street. You’re building a relationship with the customer at the same time they’re building a relationship with you. If you’re creating a lot of value for that person, for that other individual, they don’t want to jeopardize that relationship either. It’s reciprocal. Relationship is reciprocal in the sense that you do for the customer, the customer will do for you. So when you’re getting to that ultimate decision maker, they’re going to make things happen. Your customer—your existing relationship—they should be happy. They should be supportive of that. They should want to see you be successful. They should want to help you out. So remember that relationships are a two-way street.
And if the buyer—let’s say, if your key decision maker, who you have the good relationship with—if they’re not willing to help you out, challenge yourself and say, ‘Okay, maybe I’m not creating enough value for this person. If they’re not willing to help me get in front of the ultimate decision maker, then maybe I’m not doing enough for them. Maybe I haven’t created enough value to warrant them wanting to help me at that level.’ So remember, your relationship. It’s a two way street.
Number three. Make your existing contacts look like heroes. I don’t care whether you sell equipment, sell insurance, sell banking services, whatever it is. You might sell those products, but you are in the hero business. When you can make your existing contacts look like heroes to their bosses—make them look like a hero to the ultimate decision maker, make them look like a hero to other employees—making them look like a hero is going to help build that stronger bond. So you are in the hero business. Look for ways to highlight the successes of your existing contacts.
I remember one sales guy in one of our training seminars, when he was trying to get to that high level decision maker, one thing he did is he would generate reports that document the value and the impact that they’ve had on their business, the customer’s business. And he would send those by mail, to the ultimate decision maker. And in that note, he would say, “Here’s how much value so-and-so created,” and he would mention the lower level contact’s name. He was making that person look like a hero. When you make someone look like a hero, it’s going to solidify that bond; it’s going to help open up doors and new waves of opportunity are going to come your way. So make your existing contacts look like heroes.
So again, a few things to think about. Remember, we talked about your objective is to win the business. Number two: remember that relationships are a two-way street. Number three: make your contacts look like heroes. You are in the hero business.
Now, the next thing to think about. Salespeople are fearful because they’re more focused on the pain of the present than what they potentially gain in the future. Remember that pain is short term. Let’s say a salesperson is going around trying to go around their main decision maker to get to that ultimate decision maker. They’re too focused on the pain of what could happen, “Oh, I’m going to make them mad. I could lose an opportunity. I’m going to lose their trust.” All of this is a salesperson focusing too much on the pain versus what they stand to gain.
So think about that just to get your head right. If you’re attempting to go higher within an organization, don’t focus on what you’re risking, focus on what the potential gain could be. And that means penetrating an opportunity at a higher level, getting a broader sense of how they define value. You’re going to be able to influence at a much higher level which means you’re going to be more successful. And once you do this, you’re going to realize that the pain that you were focused on was really unwarranted because of the success you’re going to experience. So get yourself past the pain of the present, of what you’re risking today, and focus on what you’re going to gain in the future. The more you focus on what you’re going to gain, the more likely you are to actually go through with your intent.
Alright, let’s move on to the next tip. I believe this is tip #5. Remember that every time you step outside of your comfort zone, you are growing. Why are we afraid? Well, sometimes we’re afraid of that success believe it or not. But remember that every time you do something that you are uncomfortable doing, you grow. There’s a great book called Deliberate Discomfort. I listened to it last summer. The whole book is about putting yourself in uncomfortable positions so you get used to it and you grow from that. View this as an opportunity to grow. View this as an opportunity to overcome your fear, to manage that risk. And every time you do that, you’re going to grow. So keep that in mind.
And the final tip, number six: most of what you’re afraid of will never happen. I want you to think about that for a moment. Pause, let that sink in. Most of what you’re afraid of will never happen. Think about your entire life. Think about the things you have been afraid of—afraid of that rejection, afraid of that failure. Most of it has never happened. And that should give you some perspective on just how easy it is to overcome our fear. Go back and think about all those things that you worry about, that failure, that rejection, whatever it might be, and realize that most of it never really happened. I was fearful for no reason. It was wasted energy, wasted effort. Remind yourself of that as you reach out to that ultimate decision maker. Most of what you’re afraid of will never happen.
Make it a big day.