One question you should never ask
Asking questions pays off, we always hear that.
But there's also an art of asking and knowing what to ask.
And also important:
The goal for this article is to cast the vision for a successful garment export business.
Right down to the actual buyer in charge of what you sell.
Your ultimate goal is to get a new business partner with your ideal customers.
And that all starts with building connections.
It’s all about being intentional with WHO to approach.
Yes, you want to export your garments and the first step is to discover who is your buyer in fact.
I'm the first to tell you that I spent countless hours with prospects that were not in the position to make the final buying decision.
It turned out: All efforts for nothing.
And this is only because I just interacted with the wrong person without recognizing it.
I don't want the same for you.
That's why I'm so excited for you to learn all about it and how to implement it.
Well, stay tuned and you’ll find out.
First off: What types of people can cross your way during your sales process?
Now, before we dig into details, let me point out that in bigger organizations people in the purchasing team have different functions and missions.
In true transparency, yes, every company is different, but let me give you four common positions:
- Influencing job: This person is often knowledgeable about their work field. However, their recommendations are not taken very seriously with
much weight. Often these guys seem enthusiastic and appreciate your offers very much.
- Prejudicing job: This type sometimes tends to act with distance and her/his job is to do a pre-selection on a neutral base. This role tends to see more the downside than the value. Here the facts and details of products are interesting for these people, not the overall picture.
- Deciding job: To clarify: THIS IS THE ONE FOR YOU.... because this person takes decisions. Buying decisions. She/he has the power to take risks and establish new things. Evaluate the return on investment in detail. So essentially, for her/him the main question is: "What is the benefit of it?"
- Authorizing job: this character you sometimes don't interact with. It can be members of the board of management, buying directors, or compliance boards. They don't take the actual buying decision but can cancel the deal. She/he thinks of the total company strategy and values and not only for the individual department. However, sometimes they need to sign the deal as a second person.
Who to speak to?
Try to get through to the decision-maker as soon as possible.
Trust me, and my years of experience, that this is actually one of the best ways to get momentum for your sales.
When is the right time to find out?
Truth be told, obviously, the best is you understand who the decision-maker (or the decision-maker team) is at the beginning of the sales process.
Because when you find out late that you spent too much time, attention, focus with the wrong person - it can be tricky.
You can probably guess it, the reason is it can become tough to request to speak with her/his boss without risking the relationship you already built.
And insult the person you have spoken to already.
As you identify who is who and what roles they play in the purchasing department I want you to be very aware and crystal clear with whom you are dealing.
However, if you’re feeling a little uncertain and need to do a little investigating – you’re not alone - most of us need to dive a little deeper to get some clarity.
The truth is in some cases you will not get through to the decision-maker in the first place.
And that's o.k.
How do you know?
Trust me, you can do this. Keep in mind that titles on business cards don't tell anything about the real power to make buying decisions.
Nor do social media profiles like LinkedIn.
You know that the same job can have so many different names. Like: category manager, product manager, sourcing manager, CEO, or even merchandiser.
I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell you that the decision-making process in our industry varies a lot from company to company.
One word of caution:
One question you should NEVER ask
This question is not your friend when you like to get a real honest answer.
The little secret is that in almost all cases the person will say: "Yes".
Even if they are not.
Why do people even do that?
Another way to look at it is that this answer is most human.
When you think about this... who likes admitting to being not so important or not so powerful to take the last decision to buy or not?
So how can you get the real answer?
What's your ultimate question?
As I know you my friend like concrete examples.
One of the cool things I've learned.
Here are a few examples that you can ask.
You can do it with surrounding questions:
It's an open question that likely creates a few sentences with information.
It feels less emotional to get asked about a process.
With these questions, the person you speak to will feel fine.
Option 1: the person you talk to is the decision-maker
If the person says: "That's not a huge process. I'm making the decision myself. But I involve my team." Boom.
Option 2: the person you talk to is not the decision-maker
Maybe you hear: "Oh, I preselect the offers and select the best styles for our brand. And then we'll have a decision meeting next week where my boss and the design team will ..."
You know, that he is not your guy.
And you can ask the name of the decision-maker.
Before making any offer I highly suggest getting in touch with the decision-maker.
What to do when there's a team of decision-makers?
Yes, it's in many organizations like that, teams decide together.
It may seem like that.
However, when you take a close look, you'll find out that there's only one person who is finally responsible for any wrong decision.
And that's the decision-maker.
She/he is fully responsible for the profitability and economical success of the department/brand/business area.
To sum up
Don't get lost in a labyrinth of people where you don't know who the heck is the decision-maker.
You can do this!
Thanks for joining me today.
I really appreciate it.
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Thanks, talk soon
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