Low-level people make tactical buys. High-level people make strategic buys.

Many times salespeople believe they can crack a new customer by contacting a person they already know who happens to work in a mid or lower position in the company. Salespeople do this believing it will be the best way to develop the customer, but in the end, all they’re doing is giving away profit. The real profit in any transaction is made when the strategic value of the decisions is understood. You can best understand that when you’re dealing with senior level people.

The lower you go in an organization, the more tactical the focus is and the more the individual is going to base their decision on the absolute price point. Lower and even mid-level people focus on the price as a way for them to be seen by others as being tough and shrewd. For them, they think this approach is the best way to get promoted.

When you sell at the highest levels of the company, price point is way down on the list. The goal of senior level people is to move the company forward, either by eliminating an issue with which they are dealing or by opening up a new opportunity. In either of these situations, they will look at the strategic value and base their decision accordingly. This does not mean you eliminate all contact with mid-level or lower-level people in a company. It means you continue communication with these people to better develop your information and to better understand how the company works and how you can assist them.

What you don’t do is negotiate with low or mid-level people or provide them any price/value information. If you do, they will immediately begin to scrutinize you based on that. The conclusions they begin to draw may very easily begin to float up the organization, resulting in your proposal coming to a dead-end. The sales you can secure with the higher level executives are the best sales to go after.

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