Or, if we are trying to be more slightly more subtle, we ask: ‘who is the decision-maker?’ This often is a really dumb question to ask.
Because it rarely gets an honest answer! By asking a prospective client: “Are you the decision maker?”
You’re implying that the person you’re talking to probably isn’t the decision-maker, which might upset him or her. You may also be appearing to suggest that this person isn’t important; you’re just trying to get to the person who can make the decision. So, generally speaking this is just a bad approach; whilst it might be asked with the best of intentions, it generally doesn’t work very well.
So, a better way to ask your prospect is the following questions so you can find out more subtly who else needs to be involved:
- Who else would need to be involved to determine the impact or importance of this project, issue or purchase?
- What other business units would most closely feel the impact of this issue?
- Who else should we ask as to how we would measure the end results?
Or in other words, who in the final analysis, is most likely to be involved at the last hour who can either give the decision his or her blessing or derail the whole deal?
If the client doesn’t say that someone from purchasing or procurement should be involved, suggest their inclusion if you know they need to be part of any decision-making on behalf of the company.
Because if you don’t include them early enough in the process something is going to happen to totally derail the deal in the end. You want to make sure that you get all the relevant players round the table so there are no surprises!