A Growing Membership Sales Challenge: Identifying the Decision-Making Process

IStock/Credit:ALLVISIONN

A daunting CHALLENGE in sales is identifying who the decision maker is, (and isn’t)! Today, the decision-making process continues to evolve within an environment of “flatter” organizations. To further complicate your effort, it’s not unusual to have a more collaborative decision-making approach as an organization’s membership dues may often come from different budgets within the same company!  Let’s break it down:

1)      The buying process and the path to the decision to join an association may not start and end with the same person – or, with a certain job title – or, at a particular point in the chain of command.

2)      So, it’s most important to most concerned with engaging corporate contacts within the organization than fixating on the official “decision maker.”  Therefore, consider a relevant point of contact initially who can give you information about the prospect company, its challenges, the decision-making framework, etc.

3)      The most important question to ask your prospect early on is: “When you join associations, how does it work?” Or, in other words: “Tell me about how you go through the decision-making process in your company.”

4)      Once decision-making determination is made, make every effort to be the key communicator for your offer.  Put some real political capital into ensuring you are the only person speaking on behalf of your association.  Once someone internally begins to speak to your value prop, the prospects of a closed deal diminish greatly.

Today’s new decision-making process is less identified than before.  Spend some time understanding this protocol as you speak with the prospect.