A sales rep came to me excited but concerned about a potentially large sale. He relayed:  “I have a new account that has a perfect application for a welding robot, but I don’t think my contact will be able to make the decision on a purchase of this size. I sold a robot for a similar application to another account and have pricing and savings information. If I share this with my prospective client, how can I be sure that I will get the order or that he can make the decision?”

The sales rep was right to be concerned about his single contact. Expensive products, like robotic equipment in the over $200,000 price range, generally require a more sophisticated sales strategy than smaller purchasing agreements and, in most cases, involve multiple decision-makers. In the book, The New Strategic Selling, Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman suggest the four buying influencers who are usually involved in a committee decision on a complex sale that involves high dollar amounts.

  1. The user – The user’s role is to make judgements about the impact of the product or service being considered for the job to be done. It is generally necessary to take this influencer on a tour of another client’s facility where he can see the equipment or service being used in a similar application.
  2. The technical support – This gatekeeper, often difficult to spot, makes judgements about the measurable and quantifiable aspects of your product or service based on how well it meets a variety of his company’s specifications or other technicalities.
  3. The economic analyst – The organization’s controller is looking for price performance. He needs to be convinced that the product or service the company is considering matches their priority needs and represents the best value for the money.
  4. The coach – This is a person, inside or outside the organization (including your own), with whom you have a trusted relationship. The coach has credibility and with it, guides you and the other buying influencers toward your sales objective. Be sure to ask your coach, “Based on what you know about the committee, what do you think their questions will focus on?”

In addition to these four key players, keep in mind that on sales that involve high dollar amounts, the top executive gives the final approval based on the knowledge he or she receives from the committee.

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