For weeks, you’ve been trying to get an appointment with the decision maker, and now you finally have it. You plan your presentation; gather all the literature, visuals, and order forms; and arrive 10 minutes early. You’re ushered into a conference room, and you eagerly await your next big sale. After what seems like an eternity (but is really about five minutes), the door opens, and in walks the person you’ve been waiting to see. But wait! Someone else—no, two more people—are entering. Your one-on-one meeting is now a three-on-one. What do you do? You weren’t informed of anyone else being in the meeting, so why are they there? To take apart your presentation and ruin the sale? Help! You didn’t
plan for this.
This happens more often than you might think, especially when a larger-dollar sale is involved. The decision maker may have the authority but not all the knowledge necessary to make a purchase that’s in the best interest of the company. That’s why they bring advisors and aides to the sales meeting. You should not feel offended; rather, you should feel inspired that there is so much interest in what you have to say. The customer is likely to make a buying decision now because the extra people are there to find out whether your product or service will fill their needs. The stall tactic
of checking with someone else may not come into play—you may be able to make the sale now, today. These advisors can give the decision maker support when the sale is going in a positive direction.
Before you ruin your chances for the sale you’ve been waiting for, let’s think about why the advisors are there—to provide support and information to the decision maker. They can be your allies or your enemies, so don’t ignore them. Sell the benefits to the decision maker and the features and technical data to the advisors. Hopefully, you know your product or service well enough to answer all the technical questions.
If you knew in advance there would be additional people at the meeting, you might have brought a technical associate from your company with you. But you’re here now, and the prospects are ready, so go for it. If a question comes up that you can’t answer, you could consider calling your office on your cell phone and letting your technical support answer it on the spot. You could even let the advisor talk to that person on your cell phone to get the answer firsthand.
You want to satisfy the advisors and answer all their questions so they will give the decision maker the go-ahead from their point of view. The worst thing you can do is concentrate only on the decision maker and downplay the advisors’ questions and opinions. You want them on your side to make it comfortable for the decision maker to say yes. So be a professional and don’t show any negative reaction if several extra people are included in your sales meeting. In most cases, it will give you an even better chance of closing the sale right away.