I love selling because there are so many little things you need to work through and be nimble with but there is also a solid process that needs to be mixed with thinking on your feet. All of that allows good sales people to stand out from mediocre ones.
In episode 36 of our podcast, Inside Sponsorship, Trent Leyshan, from BOOM! Sales, made some great points. I thought there were so many little gems in what he was saying that were very applicable to sponsorship. The one I think carries the most weight in selling sponsorships is how you find the right person. It is a massive frustration for a lot of those selling sponsorships and it is often said “you must find the decision maker”. As we learnt on the podcast, however, this isn’t always the case. As such, there are three key roles that you must be aware of if you want success.
Three Key Roles
There are three key people (roles) who you need to be aware of in any organisation you are selling to. If used properly, they will help you reach an outcome quicker than if you don’t understand them and don't pay attention. They are:
- Facilitator – Is often the gateway into the opportunity and introduces you to the business.
- Influencer – Is trusted, knowledgeable and holds a valued opinion within the organisation. Is a key player.
- Decision Maker – Controls budget and makes/authorizes the purchase decision.
Who is Who?
The facilitator knows the right people or can make the introduction. Internally, however, they don’t make the call even though they may see the opportunity. External facilitators are often a trusted advisor or connection but again are not realistically going to influence a decision.
A lot of sales people get stuck here. As Trent says “these people are time-wasters and need to be eliminated!”. There are ways to use these people to get to where you need to go but be sure you don’t make them feel small in the whole process. You should, however, garner information while removing pressure from them.
In a sales situation, the influencer asks questions, answers questions and generally has a detailed understanding of the need, want or problem which is trying to be solved. Influencers have the depth of knowledge to answer the third question, when prompted, and are VITAL to the success of your sales approach.
The Decision Maker needs to see the big picture, are often outcomes based and will likely lean on the influencer for input and direction around whether or not this opportunity is worthwhile.
How To Get To There
Trial and error
You can find your own way of getting the responses you need. Being too structured removes your ability to converse and show authentic interest in your conversation and your prospect.
Make sure you ask questions. Then ... shut-up and listen. Your sales triggers will come from the answers given, by whom they are given and how they are given. At this point, you need to be ready to think on your feet and adapt to the situation.
Know enough about the organisation to show an understanding and finish your research by asking, as Trent says “Masterful Questions”. This will allow you to find the angle which you can leverage and help solve the want, need or problem in a useful and mutually beneficial way.
Other Key Tips
While the episode was jam packed full of great stuff, there were a few other key tips I picked up which I wanted to share with you.
- Follow-up: It can take up to eight follow-ups to be successful. Most sales people give up far too soon.
- Pivot to avoid time-wasters: Know how to identify time wasters and strategise how to manoeuvre around them.
- Confidence – Be confident by knowing your product, knowing yourself, knowing your process and feel free to ask the right questions to find a resolution.
- Trust - Trust your product and let it sell itself (no discounts!). Don’t think that pricing is the barrier to a sale. Instead, the barrier to making the sale is most likely what or how you are selling. If your product is good enough, and your delivery and approach stands out as being suitable, then you are on the right path!
Your Key Advice
Whilst the above will no doubt help a lot of people, we would love to hear what your tricks, hints, advice and tips to selling are! How do you cut through the red-tape and time-wasters and how do you get positive decisions? Or, if you are a brand, what helps get your attention. Email me your thoughts to mark at sponserve.net
Mark Thompson // Managing Director
Mark specializes in sponsorship and diversified income strategies and has used this expertise across the Community, Semi-Professional and Professional Sports sectors. He combines hands-on experience in managing the expectations and obligations of sponsors with marketing and stakeholder engagement to deliver outstanding results.
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