This is a guest post by Adam Metz, the author of Amazon #1 internet-marketing best-seller The Social Customer, and the VP of Business Development at PandaDoc. His posts often contain gold nuggets, which is why we’re glad to welcome Adam on our blog.
It’s no wonder so many new sales professionals don’t know what an Economic Decision Maker is.
If you Google “EDM”, here’s what you’ll get.
The Economic Decision Maker is the most important person in your sale, not dance music.
The #1 problem that I see in sales professionals with under 5 years of sales experience is that they’re mistaking their main point of contact in a deal (usually referred to in Strategic Selling as their “coach”) for the Economic Decision Maker. Here’s a few tips to make sure that you never make that mistake.
1. How to know IF you’re dealing with the economic decision-maker.
In every B2B sale, you’re typically going to be selling to 4 to 14 decision makers. According to Gartner, the average is seven. You’ll have to probe and profile all seven of them to figure out which one is the EDM.
There’s a two-prong litmus test for who will be the EDM in your sale. If this person can give a “yes” that overrides all “no’s” AND can give a “no” that overrides all “yes’s,” then you’re dealing with the economic decision maker.
Your “coach” in any sale will be willing to share this information with you. If the coach is unwilling to share this information, then you lack enough basic trust to proceed in the sale. In that case, stop the sale and work on your rapport with your “coach.”
2. Getting good access to EDMs: Your coach, in any sale does want to give you access to the EDM. But they need to trust that you won’t embarrass them or make them look lousy. So, to gain the trust from your coach (and the confidence you need to talk to the EDM), just ask your coach straightforward questions like:
“Obviously, you’ve worked with Ms. EDM for quite some time. I was hoping to get some advice from you about how to work with her on this project. You know me a bit, and you know my style. If you could give me advice as to not only her business goals on the project, but how I can make it a really enjoyable project for her, that would be rather helpful.”
“I feel that I’ve really worked well with you on this project because we’ve had solid communication. Now, I don’t know Mr. EDM as well as I do you. Can you give me some style and communication tips around Mr. EDM, especially what he looks for in a vendor partner?”
Going around a coach to access the EDM will almost always result in a burned relationship and a lost sale.
3. What to do if the EDM is not “sold,” but the coach is: This is a tricky one, because it puts the most tension between you and your coach. This is the situation where you have to coach your coach.
For example, if you’re selling to a 7-person team, and the EDM is not sold, but the other six are, here’s how to approach it.
“Team, it sounds like the seven of us are convinced this is the right way to go. I agree with you, too, but it sounds like the one of the decision-makers on your team still doesn’t see the plan as a total win. To make sure that the project rolls out the most smoothly, I think all five of us should revise the plan together over the next few days, to make sure it’s something we’re all happy with.”
In plain English: “Nobody here is doing a proposal until everyone is in agreement.”
4. Remember why EDM’s buy: 70% of EDM buying decisions are made to solve a problem, and only 30% are done to gain something, or improve the business (Impact Communications). Keep this in mind when going “pie in the sky” with an EDM.
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