Ask the Experts | Getting Decision Makers to the Table

Question: How do you get in front of decision makers when they insist on just getting an email?

Weldon Long; New York Times Best Selling Author:

People really do expect this type of information to come across email. On the other hand, we want to do everything we can to hopefully present our options face-to-face or at least on the phone. It’s kind of a tug-of-war.

People just want to email and we would rather be in front of them. The reason I would rather be in front of them when they make their decision is simply because people are more likely to say yes to me if they're making that final decision with me face-to-face. If they're making their buying decision via email, they may have two or three other bids and maybe going with the lowest price.

From my perspective, we have to respect the homeowners wishes but I'm going to do everything in my power to get in front of that homeowner. Ideally, you want to get in front of both homeowners. That starts with the lead coordination process and doing everything in our power to make the effort to get both homeowners to the table.

If that’s not possible, we have to set an appointment with the party that we can and it's up to us as the sales consultant to find a way to schedule a follow-up. What I like to do is to go through about 30-40% of the way to my presentation until I get to the section called the intention statement.

At the intention statement, I need to find out if I have a chance to earn their business. If they say, “No, I can't let you know today because my wife's not here,” then I will try some other tactics to get back in front of the other party.

If you go through EGIA’s core sales training, you'll see the whole method. if you go into the Ten Core Trainings and you go through the sales training, it's in their step-by-step - the words to say and the things to do to try to schedule that follow up. Sometimes you’ll try to schedule a follow-up in the homeowners going to say, “No, you're not coming back.” In that case, you have to take your best shot.

Ultimately, the homeowner is going to decide. We can do everything we can to try to improve our probability of converting. We want to try to get in front of that homeowner - all homeowners if possible - to make our presentation and get a response, “Yes” or “no.” But that's not always possible. At the end of the day, the homeowner is going to make that decision.

I was on a call recently doing some training with a guy and I happened to be running the call. There was a one-legger, the guy was there and the wife was at work. At the intention statement, he told me he could make a decision but at the end, he said no I can't make a decision. He basically did a 180 on me.

I asked if we could at least call his wife and the man said no. He had some serious medical conditions and he made a deal with his wife that he wouldn’t call her at work unless it was an absolute emergency. He said, “I'm not going to call her for this.”

His name was Jesse, and I said, “Jesse, can I come back tonight and talk to your wife then?” He told me she just wanted him to get the information and pass it on to her after she got home from work.

He was doing everything he could to prevent me from having a conversation with her either face-to-face with the phone. The good news is that I had spent two hours building a relationship with this guy and developed a good rapport with him. We were telling jokes and going back-and-forth about our children. The relationship was so good that after he wouldn’t give me permission to call his wife or come back later, I just appealed to his sense of fairness and leveraged our relationship.

I said, “It took me two hours to demonstrate why you should choose me and it's not really going to be the same for you to take five minutes and try to convey all that to your wife. Based on the fact that we've been here for two hours, I’m just asking you to give me a fair chance to earn her business, Jessie. I feel like that I at least deserve that.”

It got quiet for a second. He looked at me and then he turned to his son and said, “Son, get your mom on the phone!” We got her on the phone and I was able to close the deal.

The thing that allowed me to be able to do that was my relationship with him - it was so strong. We had grown together in two hours and I felt like I had the credibility to ask him, out of fairness, to talk to his wife. If I would have flown through that situation and after a half-hour or 45 minutes I'm presenting a number, there's no way he's calling his wife. It’s all about building a relationship with your customer.

So, here’s a quick recap. Number one, at the end of the day, the homeowner will make the decision. We have to focus on the process and they get to focus on the outcome, they decide. But, we have to do everything in our power to give us the best probability to make the sale: from the lead coordination process, to making sure they're qualified leads, to getting both homeowners present.

If that doesn't work, we have to follow a process when we get into the house. There's kind of a bailout that I call a Red Light, Green Light Moment. If you get a red light and there’s no closing opportunity, try to schedule a follow-up. Sometimes they won't let you do that, so you just have to do whatever they say to do. All you can do is the best you could do.

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