A note pinned to a board saying, "Are You Talking To The Right People?"
Connecting with the party authorizing the buying process improves your chances of making the sale

The law of “Who’s the Boss?”: When the “real leader” connects, people buy. The real leader is the top influencer who gives permission to close the deal. When the buyer must get permission to write the check, it indicates you need to connect with that person. Find the permission-giver. Connect with them to add value and make the sale. Go to the top to get to the bottom line.

The ‘Lunch Guy’

A friend told me his story about assisting a sales representative with a difficult client. The sales rep had been calling on this guy for several months with no success. They would talk and often go out for lunch, but no decision was ever reached about closing the sale. My friend went with this rep on his next visit to the guy’s office. After a few minutes, my friend cut to the chase and asked if he could buy. The man laughed and said, “That’s not my job. I just chat with sales reps and take them to lunch. My boss down the hall makes all the buying decisions, but no one ever asks to speak with him.”

So, my friend said, “May we speak with him … all three of us?”


“Sure,” the guy replied.

Down the hall they went, and guess what? His boss bought right away! The question wasn’t “Will you buy?” but “Who will buy?” You may have heard of the old commercial that says, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Who is the “E.F. Hutton” that everyone listens to in the company? Who is the permission-giver in the company? That person will be your best bet to connect with, rather than a middle man.

If you are taking people out to lunch and not making sales, you are eating with the wrong people.

Networking With Purpose

I used to attend local community networking breakfasts and after-hours receptions. Then, one day gazing around, I realized that almost all the people there were low on the corporate totem pole and in no position to buy my services. They were busy selling individual insurance policies, real estate services, party setups and even a chimney sweeper!

I stopped going to those meetings and found groups where the CEOs with the money and influencers were in attendance. I began connecting with them and adding value to their lives and businesses, spending my time and money on the people who could decide to buy. Now, I always make it a point to connect with the person everyone else must go to in order to get permission.

Make a commitment to meet the people who are the real leaders or can introduce you to the influencers. Find out at the next event you attend who the person you are speaking with answers to regularly. Get them to talk about themselves. What is their greatest complaint? What problem is their company experiencing? Do due diligence on them and show interest in adding value and solving those problems. Call on them within a day or two and offer to come by to meet with their superiors who expressed the need. Get the person you met to introduce you as a reliable resource. It’ll be your best introduction! Why? Because they want credit for finding you.

Are you attending meetings just to socialize or turning every event into a selling situation in your favor?

My first big training account started when I met a man at an after-hours networking event. He told me about his problems and found out I helped people just like him solve those problems. We met several days later, and he was so convinced that I wanted to make his job better by helping him that he introduced me to his human resources manager. She was the person in charge of corporate training services. So, together, we made an appointment with her.

She asked me to monitor their customer service lines for an hour. I found out what she wanted and what pressure she was under from her superiors to remedy their problems. I crafted what I said based on what she told me. We connected on her problems, and I offered to customize what I did for them. After a meeting where I asked questions based on what she said, she asked me, “How do you want the check cut?”

That’s the person I want to speak with all the time — either the permission-giver or the check-cutter. The two most important people are the check-cutter and the one who orders the check cut.

The person you must “sell” to can be hard to find. They may let their spouse do the talking. They might hide behind company receptionists. They cover themselves with voicemail. They hire other people to keep them hidden. But, your search will bear fruit. If you connect with the people between you and are able to make a bond, they will generally give you signals on who to approach.

For the Love of Cherry Coke

When you meet the top influencer of the company, spend time finding out what makes them tick (and what ticks them off). Find their “sweet spot.”

I love this story by John Maxwell of a young lady interviewing a wealthy gentleman for an article. He rarely met with any interviewers, and when he did, it lasted for no more than 30 minutes. She wanted more time with him, so she invested time researching him in advance and found out he loved Cherry Coke.

When she was granted the interview, she sat down and took out a cold Cherry Coke and handed it to him. His stern face fell, and he smiled. “How did you know I love Cherry Coke?” he asked. She told him that she wanted to spend quality time on the interview, so she had done her research.

He smiled and said, “Young lady, you may have as long as you want.” They spoke for over two enjoyable hours. Are you willing to put in the time and effort to find out what motivates the true leader in your sales research? Have you found ways to add value to them to get noticed?



When the Real Leader Connects, People Buy

Next time you are making a sales call, ask who will cut the check or who authorizes payments. That is who you want to get in front of for successful sales.

I’m old school. When I was dating, if the parents wanted to meet me before I picked up their daughter, I spent time getting to know them. I answered questions more than I spoke. I wanted to put their minds at ease that I was responsible, raised right and their daughter was in good care for the evening. The same is true in sales.

If you must get permission from the “mom” or “dad” to make the sale, resolve the issue or cut the check, then connect with “mom” or “dad.” Ask questions more than talk. Study their office, their posture and their interests. Take interest in them. Be an encourager and value-adder to them. Add value to their businesses and their lives. Go to the top if you expect to get to the bottom line. Can it be any simpler than that?

Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, CSML, is an International Platform Certified Speaker, Certified Speaking Professional, Certified Speaker & Trainer with the International John Maxwell Leadership Team and bestselling author of “Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.” For more information on how Mathis can benefit your organization or group, call 404-922-8199 or email jim@jimmathis.com.


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