When working with purchasing departments, try to find out who the “key players” are in the department.

Don’t think for a moment the buyer with whom you’re working is the one making all the decisions regarding you and your business.  Every purchasing department has people who are “behind the curtain.”  These are the people who many times really do drive the decision making process. Sometimes they’re more senior people and sometimes they’re far more junior in experience and responsibility.

The example I like to share is a buyer I knew of who on the surface appeared to be making all of the decisions and came across extremely arrogant with salespeople.  In reality, the buyer was not the one in control. Instead, there was a financial analyst/administrator in the department who drove the decision making process based on the financial analysis and reports they maintained.

The buyer did a great job of putting on a big front with salespeople, because the bigger the front he put up, the more salespeople catered to him with tickets to events, dinners, etc.  If the salespeople calling on him had only taken the time to really understand how the buying process worked, they could have saved themselves a lot of money, time and grief. 

Never pass up the opportunity when you’re meeting with your buyer to ask them questions about how their buying process works.  You can do this by showing keen interest in what they do and a desire in helping them minimize their workload.  I’ve found when you approach a relationship in this manner, you’ll be able to break down some of the typical buying department walls and begin to understand who is behind the curtain.  Your sales motivation will stay high and you will be in a better position to grow your profit.

Copyright 2010, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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