How to Identify the Decision Maker

August 24, 2023
3 minutes to read
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Identifying the decision maker is crucial for any salesperson, but it can also be a difficult part of the job. Sometimes, it can take a substantial amount of time, especially if you spend a long time communicating with a prospect, to learn that your contact is not the one making the purchasing decision. Here are some tips to help you pick out the decision maker and make the most out of your selling process.

What Is a Decision Maker?

The decision maker is the person who makes purchasing decisions on behalf of themselves, their family, a business, or an organization. For a household, there is typically only one or two decision-makers. Within a business, you can often expect a group of decision-makers. Their main focus is on making strategic choices based on the organization’s needs, goals, and available resources.

How Do I Identify the Decision Maker?

Identifying a decision maker is a crucial part of B2B sales. When selling straight to consumers, it’s typically easy to recognize the person making the purchasing decisions. You can expect that 99% of the time, the decision-maker in any household is one or both parents. Of course, there are outliers with multigenerational homes and other living situations, but this is a good rule of thumb.

Identifying the decision maker of a business can be a lot more difficult but is an essential part of the job for business-to-business (B2B) salespeople. Don’t focus so much on titles and more on what your target buyer persona is. For example, if you’re selling for a marketing agency, you’ll want to contact someone within the company’s marketing department.

1. Do Your Research

Doing a little research can go a long way. Check out the company’s website. Many businesses publish information about who is on their leadership team. A quick Google search of the company and the title or department you are looking for could do the trick. For smaller businesses, LinkedIn can be a great help. Start with the company’s page and search from there. If you have connections with someone who works there, that’s another way to get your foot in the door. Be sure to expand your research beyond just who to contact. You’ll also want a strong understanding of the business and what they do before you reach out.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

You may not find a good point of contact online. Don’t be afraid to do general outreach if you can’t find who you’re searching for. Filling out a company’s contact form on their website or cold calling them could be a simple solution to getting the necessary information.

How to Reach Out to the Decision Maker?

a. Getting Past the Gatekeeper

Corporate buyers often have some kind of gatekeeper. This can be in the form of a secretary, assistant, department head, etc. First impressions are everything; your first chance to speak with a business will likely be through a gatekeeper. Not only can this person greatly help your chances of getting to the decision maker, but they can also put in a good word for your product or service. You’re much more likely to close the deal if you first create trust with the gatekeeper. The bottom line is to be respectful and to recognize how they can help you make the sale.

b. Provide Value

Before you even start selling, make sure you are asking the right questions. Ask them about their pain points and show how your product or service could alleviate them. Other questions to ask:

  • Who is involved in the decision-making process?
  • Have you ever heard of us or a similar product/service?
  • Have you ever used a similar product/service?
  • What things do you consider before you make a decision like this?
  • Do you think anyone else in your organization would benefit from this product/service?
  • What would you like to see for this sale to be approved?