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Selling Your Consulting Services: Who’s The True Buyer?

By Michael Zipursky

A consultant I work with just emailed me…

She was all excited because she just wrapped up a meeting with a large ideal client.

When your proposal is shared with people that haven’t been a part of your meetings and prior conversations things tend to go downhill.

She forwarded over an email response she received from the prospect. It had a glowing review and the prospect believes this consultant would be a good fit.

But the final sentence in the email caught my eye.

“I will be sharing your proposal with my team, and get back to you.”

I quickly responded to the consultant to let her know that she may be talking to the wrong person. Her prospect may not be the real buyer.

Here’s the point I want to share with you today:

Just because you have a good relationship with someone in an organization and they have accepted a meeting with you, doesn’t mean they are your ideal buyer.

A real buyer must have buying authority.

That means that they can make the decision to hire you without consulting others.

There’s nothing wrong if they want to get feedback from other people on their team, yet it’s imperative that you know where THEY (the real buyer) stand regarding accepting your proposal.

When your proposal is shared with people that haven’t been a part of your meetings and prior conversations things tend to go downhill.

That’s why you should always insist on meeting with the real buyer and to be present when your proposal is discussed.

Failure to do this will lead to a lot of wasted time and a much lower win rate.

Sure, it’s always easier to get meetings with people working at the lower levels and yes it will take more effort to connect with real buyers, yet, it’s definitely worth it.

If you’d like to learn how to identify your ideal clients and have an effective sales conversation with them so that you can land more projects at higher fees, get in touch here.

12 thoughts on “Selling Your Consulting Services: Who’s The True Buyer?

  1. Trudy Phillips says:

    Just recently had that happen to me. Result. Did not get to have a further discussion with the decision maker.

  2. vinodh says:

    this is an eye opener. there are always gate keepers.
    Its almost impossible to get the contact ids of end buyer who has deciding authority.

  3. TomP says:

    It takes a lot more effort to find out who REALLY makes the decision to buy. But by spending the time and effort searching out all the company’s hierarchy will greatly improve the overall sell rate. And that time spent doing the research is usually less than the time wasted by not having the right person in the first place.
    It is difficult to get over the idea that being face to face with ANYBODY at the company is better than being in your office doing the research but you have to get over that. By doing your research, you walk into a meeting knowing who to sell to and who to provide the tease that gets you to the next level and the decision maker.

  4. AJ says:

    I believe in working at both levels….Always try to put my best in each meeting so if I had a meeting with lower level person, I really do not care as i know that getting appointment from the decision maker is rare and here in they usually ask lower level to discuss it FIRST so if I impress those lower level, I think that will also pay the price…

    • AJ – for sure. Just because someone isn’t your true buyer you still want to establish rapport with them. They will often move up and may become more influential in the organization as time goes by.

  5. This is a real learning point. I had to find out the hard way before I started using a simple technique that has saved me time and help secure contracts. I ask ” how many proposals do you need and the names of the individuals for each proposal in order to move this project forward” or something like that. In over 50% of opportunities I have found that there is indeed someone else in the decision making process!

  6. Bwanika says:

    i think the dilemma even stretches to determining the right rate to discuss with the clients. Sometimes we fail to reach the right people to negotiate with because of presenting either high or under quotation for various assignments. A right approach supported with a fitting quotation could be one of the key things to lead you to the right person to negotiate with.

    • Bwanika – this is exactly why you want to meet with the true buyer as quickly as possible and only have the real sales conversation with them so that you get the most accurate picture of the value you’ll provide to them and the organization.

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