Have an IDEA who you are Selling

All successful salespeople I have met over the years have an IDEA of who they are selling to.  In other words…they are exceptionally clear of the roles and responsibilities of the person/people they are selling.

IDEA is an acronym standing for:

  • (I):  Influencer
  • (D): Decision Maker
  • (E):  End User
  • (A): Approver

I realize in most businesses people may wear multiple hats.  A salesperson’s job is to discover which hat is primary so they will be able to stay in alignment with their prospect’s specific business issues and needs.

We have discovered that in order to be successful in today’s business climate salespeople need to sell to all four points of contact but they must know how to sell to each one of them very differently.  For instance, salespeople shouldn’t reveal pricing or terms to an end user at any time during the sales process because the end user doesn’t care how much it costs. They just want to make sure that it helps them address their issues.  The price discussion should be saved exclusively for the final decision maker because they control the power of the pen.  Conversely, salespeople shouldn’t demonstrate their products or services to the final decision maker because they don’t care about the nuts and bolts of your solution. They just want to make sure that their people are satisfied and that the payback is fair.  It is better to save product demonstration for the influencers and end users because they are the ones that will be using the product or recommending the purchase.

In addition to having an IDEA of who they are selling to the best salespeople do quality pre-call research on their prospects.  Our research shows that much of the success of a live sales call is dependent on how much a salesperson knows about their prospect, their prospect’s industry and their market place.  As I’ve said many times before…prospect knowledge is more powerful than product knowledge!

Before making initial contact a salesperson should visit their prospects website, Google their prospect’s name as well as the name of the people they’re meeting with a well as do LinkedIn research.  During the initial call salespeople can validate/invalidate what they learned during their pre-call research.

Follow these tips and watch the size/quality of your pipeline grow to record levels!

2 Responses to “ Have an IDEA who you are Selling ”

  1. August 6, 2013

    Great post John. I love the IDEA acronym and will consciously use it from now on.

  2. August 7, 2013

    John, I have been amazed and surprised when I ask who the decision maker would be.
    Many times it is not who you assume.

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