Sunday, April 28, 2013

Advice From Sales Pros On The DM Process

Contacting and influencing the Decision Maker (DM) and others in the DM process is required. It's part of your job as a salesperson. In addition to contacting the DM and those in the DM process, you must:
* Identify each person in the DM process
* Validate each person's role in the DM process
* Determine what to accomplish with each person in the DM process

When your initial contact is a blocker (or other non-DM), there are several ways to get around them and reach the influencer or DM. This is a partial list -- you can come up with your own to fit your situation:
1. Ask to have the DM paged
2. Mail them a personal note
3. Mail an article from the newspaper or a magazine that would interest them
4. Send them a new report pertinent to their industry
5. Send them a testimonial from a competitor
6. Send them a personal gift
7. "Carbon copy" the DM on an email to the non-DM
8. Join a club or organization they belong to
9. In your voice mail or email, lead with value to get their attention and increase the likelihood they will contact you.

Leaving a vanilla, generic email or voice mail is rarely effective. Same with sending a form letter. They are a waste of your time and their time.

Important note: No matter what method you use to get to the DM, you MUST be honest with your words and actions.

If you get through by bypassing a blocker, you must be ready with a presumed value to give the DM based on your company research, your market research, and your knowledge to keep them engaged with you. Depending on how much time they have and how much value they perceive in you, you may have to schedule an appointment when you and the DM can talk further.

Final Words On The DM Process
We've talked a lot about the DM process, but we haven't mentioned everything. Here are some miscellaneous tips about the DM process that we've found helpful:

1. It's OK to ask your contact if they are a DM as long as you ask appropriately.

2. Don't just believe their words. Measure their actions against their words to validate if they are a DM. Scrutinize the results you get when working with them.

3. Once you reach the DM, don't allow yourself to get pushed back down. Earn the right to stay at that level by aligning specific Value Propositions to directly address their needs.

4. You need to build relationships horizontally with others in the company to increase your chances for retaining their business. Don't limit yourself to just one contact. The more people you reach and help, the more widespread your acceptance will be.

5. Even with a team decision-making approach, there is typically one driver.

Our final note on DMs comes from Woody Allen: "In my house I'm the boss, my wife is just the decision maker."

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting