“Is There Anyone Else We Should We Be Talking To?”

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Sometimes we become so task focused, we lose site of the bigger picture and what we could be doing.

We’re working a deal with a prospect. They’re spending time with us, we are learning their requirements, moving through the buying cycle. We’re caught up in the deal, in trying to move forward. And we forget something critical, we forget to ask, “Is there anyone else we should be talking to?”

We eventually win the deal, we thank the customer for their business, we’re happy to have won and move on. We forget to ask, “Is there anyone else we should be talking to you? Are there other people in your organization that may have the same issues? Are there people you know in other companies who may have the same issues?

We talk to a prospect, perhaps the right person, perhaps the wrong person, but before concluding the call, we forget to ask, “Is there anyone else we should be talking to?” Or “Who are the people we should be talking to?”

It’s a fundamental in selling, but too often overlooked. And it’s crippling.

In a deal, we need to understand who is involved, what their roles are and their “stake” in the decision. We need to understand their attitudes to us and the alternatives and a number of other things. But we fail to ask. Too often, we are comfortable dealing with our “friends and buddies.” Too often, we are time pressed, so we focus on just a few. We fail to identify the other people we should be talking to, missing a critical opportunity, threatening our ability to win a deal.

Or we’re prospecting, finding new opportunities. In our current accounts, with current prospects, or new companies. We target an individual. It may or may not be the right person. We may or may not be able to engage them in a buying activity. Whether it’s the right person or the wrong one. Whether they offer potential or not.

We always need to be asking, “Is there anyone else we should be talking to?”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.

1 COMMENT

  1. Dave: I’ll confide – in the past, I’ve used that question, but never consistently got the answer I was seeking–ideally, names, job titles, and phone numbers. Most often, I got “well, I’m not sure,” or “you’re talking to the right person right here.” Only on rare occasions did my contact offer up names.

    So I started going after the information I wanted in a little different way. I ask “in the past couple of months, what answers are others in your company seeking from you?” I get a much higher hit ratio, and find the question gets past job titles and org charts. From there, I just ask “And who typically asks you about . . . ”

    Next, I do the reverse–“in your day-to-day work, which answers do you most commonly seek from others?” followed by, “who are the people you go to in order to find out?”

    I realize these questions aren’t a “straight line” path to the question you are suggesting, but once I get the answers, I know if there is anyone else I should be talking to, and why I should be talking to them.

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