Chris Salisbury wrote a thoughtful article entitled, The Mighty Triangle of Influence. He identified a common challenge faced by sales professionals, namely that a committee or team decides collectively when it comes to making purchases for a business. Naturally, influencing a group requires far more skill than persuading a single individual.
The usual suspects that form the committee consist of the end-user(s), a financial overseer, and a representative from operations. While the participation of each element makes sense, their interests may be quite different, even at odds with one another. To get the deal, you must build rapport quickly and authentically with each participant.
Stereotypically, people who are charged with the responsibility of watching expenditures are high in the Stabilizing trait. They are planners. They tend to be conservative in nature, want social proof, and are risk-averse. They are moderately slow in making decisions and must read the fine print before executing paperwork.
Individuals who manage operations share some of these characteristics. Yet they may bring other interests to the table. They may focus on speed – the quickness in people learning to use the new equipment or system; the time it takes to show a return on investment; the disruption to productivity during implementation. They may bring an Energizing style to the sales conversation. That means they are eager to make a decision and move on.
Finally, end users may be approaching this purchase from a totally different perspective. They are focused on producing accurate output and may be concerned that their expertise and competence is being questioned. This worry is particularly true for people high in Learning style. However, another group of end users may be reflecting on how this buying decision impacts personal relationships. They rank high in Networking trait.
Build Rapport with Each Individual
Of course, the actual personality styles you may be working with will vary. However, be prepared that you’ll encounter differences which will affect the decision-making process. A one-size fits all approach won’t work. You have to tailor your presentation to the individuals in the Mighty Triangle of Influence in order to make the sale.
About Dr. Nancy Zare
A retired professor and psychologist, Dr. Nancy Zare originated the AlikeAbility™ System to teach business owners and sales professionals how to read buying styles and close more sales. She offers a complimentary AlikeAbility™ Assessment that includes the strengths and challenges of your buying/selling style. Contact her to receive your copy.