Why Sales People Fail To Qualify The Decision Maker On The Telephone

Phone - PhotostockMany sales people today still have problems in properly qualifying the decision maker (DM) on the telephone when making appointments.  I often see sales people show up for their appointment and begin trying to “push” or make the prospect become the DM, when he or she is clearly not.

The sales person then spends time in an essentially meaningless chat, convincing himself that the meeting was an influencer; when in fact; it was a waste of time.

This practice is more common than you may realise and happens to the best sales people.  Below are three main reasons for the under-qualifying of DMs. Avoid these excuses and set more solid, profitable appointments.

#1 – Afraid To Ask A Buying Question

Often the sales person is too afraid to ask such a buying question so soon in the conversation.  Within just a few seconds of getting the person on the telephone, the sales person has to ask the prospect if they are indeed the person who does the buying.

“Steve, do you handle the purchasing of IT equipment for your firm?”

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps To Implement Effective Sales Enablement

The anticipated, negative response to this question terrifies many sales people into just avoiding it.  It comes across as a buying question to which the prospect can and will object.

However, you must realise that at this point, it is not a buying question. It is for information only.  You want to have a conversation with the person who makes those decisions, but you are not asking for any type of a decision now.

#2 – Being Satisfied With A Title

Following along with the above, many sales people, also afraid to ask the direct question, ask for a title and will accept that as the final word.

“Sarah, are you the purchasing manager there?”

“John, you are the Help Desk Supervisor, right?”

While this may suffice in some instances, it is better to confirm the decision making power in addition to the title.  You have to understand that the responsibilities for a particular title or position will change dramatically from company to company.  Ask and confirm the buying authority in addition to the job.

#3 – The Fear Of Messing Up A Good Thing

The final reason for not properly qualifying the DM is the fear of messing up a conversation that is going along well.  The sales person makes calls, after calls, after calls, with no luck.  The constant rejection is only aided by the self-esteem killing road blocks from hardcore gatekeepers.

Then finally, some success.  The telephone sales rep gets past the gatekeeper and reaches a friendly voice, which does not hang up; but has an open mind and is ready to listen.  At this point, the absolute last thing the sales person wants to do is discover that this nice person is NOT the DM! So they don’t ask.

(Image by Photostock at

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 0

Add a New Comment

Thank you for adding to the conversation!

Our comments are moderated. Your comment may not appear immediately.