Here's one of the most important questions you could ever ask one of your prospects: "Is there anyone else besides yourself who might be involved with this purchasing decision?"
Why is the question so critical? Because more and more companies are using committees to make major buying decisions. Many salespeople tell me, "I thought I was talking to the person in charge, but when I asked for the sale, I was informed there were other players in the decision-making process who would have to be consulted first."
Senior executives who used to buy on the spot are often now consulting several members of their respective organizations. Why? It's simple - they want 'buy in' from the people who will have to manage or use your products and services. In short, don't be surprised if the person you thought was the decision-maker invites you back to talk with a production manager, a purchasing officer or perhaps even an end user of your products or services. While it's not bad to be invited back for another appointment, it is time consuming. Furthermore, if you have to meet with each of the other players individually, you may find yourself asking and answering the same questions over and over again.
So what can you do? First, in your pre-call planning research, try to determine how buying decisions are made at your prospect's place of business. If you discover your prospect uses a 'committee' approach, don't be afraid to recommend that you make your sales presentation to the entire committee, instead of making three or four individual presentations.
Second, allot more time to the committee meeting. It's likely you're going to have to field more questions, but it will be worth it. After all, you might find yourself making one sales presentation instead of three or four.