I recently had a conversation with a coaching client about their sales activities — they call on CxOs selling business unit analysis solutions. They shared with me their meetings seemed to be “going great”, but they are not converting near as many prospects as they should.

Reviewing a few accounts, it became apparent they were not engaging with the decision maker in several opportunities. The mistake they were making was not qualifying the person they met with on their ability to complete the purchase.

On occasion, they were being passed around from person to person, each time going through the entire spiel, thinking they were closing the deal at each encounter, just to be asked to present again to another person or group.

They should have been qualifying each person as to how decisions were made and what their role was in the decision.

It’s an artful dance — sharing information about your offering while testing your prospect’s ability to complete a purchase. But it’s necessary for ongoing and consistent sales success.

Tip: No one with a big title will ever tell you they aren’t important in a decision. You have to continuously qualify each step of the sale and test the person you’re meeting with to assure you’re advancing the sale towards a definitive and timely yes or no.

If you can’t map a clear path to a close, you have no chance of getting there.

Have you ever engaged in a sales opportunity only to learn much later the person you were working with couldn’t complete the purchase?  How did it affect the sale?  And how did it compare to a sales opportunity where you were definitely working with the decision maker from day-one?

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