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How to Close a Deal with Multiple Stakeholders

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I have been through a lot of different Sale trainings over the years. All of them have their positives, but as I look back on most of them I’m struck by the fact they seem to gloss over one part of selling that has become a critical concept and skill for anyone selling. That concept is the one of Buyer Personas. They can also be called stakeholders, influencers, decision makers, technical buyers – the list goes on. Unfortunately, those terms are too generic to be of value in the world in which we sell today.

Many companies I work with are smaller businesses with highly technical solutions selling into much larger companies than themselves. Most of these sales are complex. They are complex not only because of the solutions that are being put forth, but, more importantly, they are complex due to the number of Buyers involved in the decision. I’m often asked by my clients, “How do I close a deal when there are multiple stakeholders or buyers involved?” And I tell them, “Well, it takes a little bit of homework because each buyer has a different point of view on your solution.” A CEO looks at your solution differently than a VP of sales. A CFO looks at it very differently than a COO. Yet in order for you to successfully bring them on as a new client, you need to understand and address each person’s needs and point view.

Build a Profile

What you need to do is build a profile for each one of these positions. These profiles will be specific to the people and their positions in the organizations you sell to as of today. The goal is to understand their business objectives, what their professional and personal goals are, and what the obstacles are that they run into on a daily basis that perhaps you can solve.

  1. Make a list of the different buyers by title that are typically involved in one of your sales. This can be a long list but don’t overwhelm yourself at the beginning. Try to make a list of no more than 5 to start.
  2. Departmental or Company goals – Define what metrics are used by the company. Some people strictly have departmental goals while a CEO may be responsible for company-wide goals. Be as specific as possible and limit them to their top 3.
  3. Obstacles – What obstacles do they typically face in their positions? For instance, a COO must run the company as lean as possible but often has budget restrictions in place. She cannot invest in the technology she needs to create efficiencies. Regulations may also be an obstacle preventing her from eliminating perceived waste.
  4. Personal/Professional Goals – What does this person aspire to? Where do they want to go in the business? In their career? In their personal life? Just a hint: This is the most important one generally to understand. If you can nail this for each one of your Buyers, you have a high chance of winning the business.

Prepare Individually

If you are headed to a meeting or having a phone call with one or more of these buyers, you need to review the Buyer Personas you have created prior to the call. Understand the perspective they are coming from before you walk in the door or pick up the phone. Heck, do it before you ever write them an email. The better you can see the world from their point of view, the better your chances are of connecting with them, the better your chances of gaining their trust, the better your chances of winning their business.

Close More Business

If you take the time to create these buyer profiles and prepare for every conversation you have with each one of your stakeholders, you will come up with a better solution to suit their needs creating trust, a desire to work with you, and a higher likelihood that they are going to buy from you.

Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly
Jack founded the Corlea Group in early 2009 with his first client coming on board in January of that year. Jack loves to coach. He coaches his clients and he helps coach his kid’s teams – it’s his passion and has been for over 25 years as a professional, father and volunteer. Why? Because he likes to help a team succeed.
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