Making the sale: the importance of the decision maker and their secretary

Access to the decision maker and the goodwill of their secretary is vital to clinching deals.

Access the decision maker, or move on
Before I became self-employed I worked in sales for an advertising company.  I learnt that getting access to the decision maker was vital to making the sale.  A mistake in sales is effort made to sell the product to someone who is not the decision maker, that is the one who has no authority to make the decision to buy the product being sold.  Time is money, and if denied access to a decision maker, rather you only get access to a “nobody”, then exit and try again another day. 

Get on the good side of the secretary
Decision makers are busy people, and thus they employ secretaries to manage their schedules.  These secretaries act as gatekeepers, i.e. access to the decision maker is often or not via these “gatekeepers”.  Get on the wrong side of a gatekeeper and likely they will attempt and will successfully block your access to the decision maker. 

Whilst secretaries are no decision makers, and thus its pointless to sell the product to them, they are important for access to the decision maker.  These “gatekeepers” need to be seduced, by playing on their egos.  Gatekeepers feel important, since they feel in control of the lives of powerful decision makers, thus if they feel devalued or undermined by a salesperson, any sale is dead in the water.  A seduced gatekeeper enables access to the decision maker, but also can sell the product for you.

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