4 Steps to Unlocking Your Buyer’s Decision Process

Sales expert John Barrows walks you through the keys to determining the why, how, and who of your buyer’s decision process.

4 Steps to Unlocking Your Buyer's Decision Process
At the end of the day, a sale simply comes down to a decision. After weighing the information you’ve laid out for them, a prospective buyer sits down and decides whether or not to proceed with your business. That decision process can vary greatly from client to client, and often it can have just as much impact on your odds of closing a sale as anything you’re doing as a salesperson.
That’s why it’s crucial to increase your knowledge of your buyer’s decision making process to better equip yourself to focus your efforts on the right individuals and move a potential deal forward.

1) Ask Your Buyer About Their Decision Making Process

A clear understanding of the decision making process can often mean the difference between winning and losing a deal. So how do you go about establishing this understanding?
A quick first step is to simply ask your prospect directly how it works. Once you have a basic grasp of the steps and different individuals involved, your next goal should be identifying the primary decision maker.

2) Identify the Decision Maker

Sometimes you can just come right out and ask what the decision making process is, but, depending on who you’re dealing with, they may either not really know or may be hesitant to talk about it, especially if it involves their boss or someone even higher up.
Without a clear picture you run the risk of making assumptions and possibly even getting fooled by someone who may be positioning themselves as the decision maker when they really aren’t.
It’s crucial piece to decipher early on, and the key to uncovering it is by bolstering your question with a little research and framing it in the right context.

3) The Decision Triangle

As with any decision, there is usually more than just one person involved in the sales process, and in order to successfully navigate that process you’re going to have to understand and focus on those other stakeholders in addition to the final decision maker. After all, they may not have the ability to say “yes,” but they do have the ability to say “no.”
Typically, there are three points of contact that have impact on the buyer’s decision making process:

  • The executive sponsor
  • A Champion within the organization
  • Someone from IT or perhaps procurement (an implementer)

In order to set yourself up in the best position possible, you really need to develop an understanding of this “decision triangle” and determine the criteria each individual is going to use to decide yes or no.

4) Identify Your Champion

A key to developing your understanding of — and utilizing — the decision triangle is identifying at least one person who will be your Champion. And the main characteristic to look for in a Champion is someone who can steal budget.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “priorities have changed,” the likelihood is you were dealing with someone who had no influence on the budget. Meanwhile, a Champion from somewhere else came and took your money.
Also, as much as the client would like us to believe they are, budgets are not always fixed. If your product’s value is there, the right Champion will be able to help simplify the buying process for the final decision maker.
For more helpful video tips, please visit Sales from the Streets.

Do you agree these are the best steps to understanding and successfully navigating your buyer’s decision process?

John Barrows
John Barrows

John Barrows is the owner of J.Barrows LLC, a providers of customized sales training and consulting services to major corporations like Salesforce.com, Box.com, Linkedin, SAP, and many others around the world. Prior to starting J.Barrows, John was the Director of Sales and Training at Basho Strategies and co-founder of Kensei Partners.
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