Winning The Hearts and Minds of Your Decision Maker

Mark HolmesGaining Commitment, Propspecting, Sales Questions

Are you attempting to win one or more top-tier accounts in the next three to six months?

What chances do you give yourself for landing a large sale with a new prospect? What about someone that’s never bought from you, or never even allowed you to meet?

Are you aware that nearly 6 out of 10 times a customer with at least some allegiances to a current supplier will remain loyal even if your solution is appealing?

What is your plan of attack for winning large, new accounts this year?

Are you familiar with the two most successful tactics for convincing a top-tier account to switch?

Now, did you notice what I’ve done so far? I have used questions only. Why?

Here’s why. Asking intelligent questions is one of the two most successful tactics you can use for moving the hearts and minds of decision makers.  And the second tactic aligns with the first, and that is to understand the mindset and heart of decision makers.

I’ve never seen any top performing salesperson in any company or in any industry, anywhere, who didn’t possess a good fundamental understanding of how the decision maker thinks as well as know their motivations and fears.  Never.

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever wanted to know exactly which questions to ask and what exactly to communicate in order to win the biggest sale of your life? Then underline or highlight this…

Decision makers buy for two main reasons. (You need to know this inside and out.)

  1. They buy to achieve something that’s extremely important to them.
  2. They buy to avoid the fear or pain of something.

No joke, that’s it. There simply isn’t anything else more important for you to be aware of than this: Decision makers look to benefit or protect themselves personally.

They want to look good. They don’t want to make a big mistake or take too much risk, they don’t want to lose their status or their job. They want to be the smartest person in the room, or they want recognition, a raise, or they want to outperform others.

Yes, they are paid to look out for the company’s best interests. Yes, they will portray themselves as focused on the business needs – but don’t ever believe that they won’t also have a deep, dark personal motive, one that can cause them to not buy what they really should buy in order to protect or accomplish something for them.

Here’s another little secret. Decision makers have difficulty determining accurately which supplier truly offers the strongest value. Why? Because there is so much parity and equality among competitors today.

Here’s something else you may not know. Many if not most decision makers also realize that they don’t have the expertise, or the time to make an entirely accurate decision. This is the reason why they realize they need you to quantify the positive differences your solution offers.

If you don’t quantify the advantages and differentiate the VALUE you offer over the competition, who will? Your customer won’t do the heavy lifting or take the time to do this for you!

To quantify your advantages and identify what makes your decision maker tick, you should ask questions that can break through the clutter in their minds and help them see your value in the most positive light.

Here are ten of my favorite types of “breakthrough” questions.

  • What are the biggest challenges you face in this project?
  • What are your most important priorities right now? How big of a priority is this for you currently? Why?
  • In your mind, what are the most important decision drivers for this purchase?
  • How long have you had this challenge? What is the impact of this issue if it is not resolved successfully?
  • Have you ever considered the advantages of having/using…?
  • How long would you like the value from this solution to ideally last? What are the consequences if it does not?
  • What outcomes do you personally want to see from this purchase?
  • What would success look like to you in this project? What would it mean to you personally to see it succeed? How would it impact you if down the road it were clear that your decision was not the right one?
  • Which benefits from our proposed solution most appeal to you? Are there any areas of our proposal that give you concern, or any areas that will hurt our chances of winning your business? Does it look like we are on the right track for your issue?
  • Do you have a budget approved for this, or are you just trying to determine whether or not you will go forward?

You can win the hearts and minds of decision makers if you know their mindset and also understand how they approach making important choices. Take sufficient time to prepare intelligent questions in advance of your call because questions make people think, and people must think before they buy.

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