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Decision Making: Proving You Believe You Belong In the Room

In the competitive world of B2B sales, proving you belong in the decision-maker's room is crucial for winning high-stakes deals.

Imagine your dream client decides to make a change. They cannot continue without securing the results they need. Your contact has the power to make this decision, and they will move fast. You have been pursuing this company for years, and because you have never given up, you now have an opportunity to meet with the decision-maker, along with two other potential partners. You want to win this client, as it would be the largest in your portfolio.

In a contest between three salespeople and their sales organizations, your hard-charging decision-maker will prefer the salesperson who belongs in the room where the decision will be made. Three salespeople enter this contest, but only one will win the client’s relationship and business. In this situation, you must prove that your two competitors have nowhere near your level of knowledge as it relates to this all-important decision. The decision-maker wants to get this decision right.

Proving You Belong in High-Stakes Decision Making

How do you prove you belong in the room where the contact will make their decision? What do you need to do to dispatch your competitors and be the last salesperson in the room with your decision-maker?

Understanding the First Competitor

Your first competitor takes the first meeting slot. He walks into the contact’s office. As he sits down, he notices a picture of the contact’s family and mentions how beautiful his family is. The decision-maker thanks Salesperson One, making it clear they are ready to talk about business. The salesperson’s attempt to build rapport has failed.

Salesperson One opens their presentation by talking about their company, which has been in business since 1907 and is still owned by the family that founded it. After displaying the large and well-recognized logos of clients they do business with, Salesperson One asks the client a number of closed-ended questions. The decision-maker provides answers. Noticing the client seems impatient, the Salesperson One cuts to the chase and starts to explain why their solution is just what the client needs to secure the better results they are pursuing.

The contact discovers that Salesperson One has no place in the room where the decision will be made. The decision-maker thanks the salesperson and hopes the next one is better.

Evaluating the Second Competitor

Salesperson Two shows up for their first meeting. This salesperson skips the rapport-building and asks if it is okay to get started, proposing an agenda. This salesperson spends time understanding the client’s problem and its root causes. So far, so good, as the salesperson focuses on the problem. This salesperson asks a number of open-ended questions, a few of which are high-gain questions that help the decision-maker learn something valuable for the future.

If this contest had only these two salespeople, Salesperson Two would likely win the client’s business. But you are still waiting for your first meeting, and you have prepared for this moment, intending to win the client’s business by proving you belong in any room where your contacts are deciding how to change.

Standing Out as the Third Competitor

You sit down across from your contact, and you politely open the conversation by asking, “Would it be okay if I shared with you our executive briefing, the four trends we are following, and what the data says?” Then, you say, “I am certain you are tracking some of the same trends, and I would love to get your perspective on them.” Your contact leans in and asks a number of questions about the trends and how these things are showing up in other companies.

You follow up with a good number of high-gain questions that cause the decision-maker to think about the results they need and the decision they are facing. Your briefing proves you already know the problem better than the client. You continue asking technical questions that help your contact acquire information and insights about the factors that may improve or hinder their results. These questions allow you to determine the right solution for this contact and their business.

Your contact asks you several questions to fill in the gaps in their knowledge and experience. Your responses help them consider the decision they are facing. Before you leave the first meeting, you advise your contact to include anyone who will weigh in on the decision in the next meeting.

Leveraging Information Disparity to Win Deals

The most powerful of all the sales strategies is information disparity. This strategy allows you to create value for your contacts within the sales conversation. This strategy doesn’t show up in B2B sales training, and most sales leaders don’t enable this approach.

There is no reason for a prospective client to buy from a salesperson who knows less about the decision than their contact does. The reason the first two contestants failed was that they were unable to present themselves as experts or authorities.

In this new era of decision-making, the salespeople who can sit across from their clients and lead them through their decisions will succeed. Those who lack the training and knowledge to sit next to their clients and provide them with deep insights and relevant information will fail. Your contacts must get their decision right on the first attempt, and they are looking for a salesperson who can ensure their success.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 13, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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