​Friday Q&A: Communicating with all Decision-Makers

How do you manage “too many cooks in the kitchen” when you get all the decision-makers in the room for your sales meeting?

This week’s Friday Q&A question came from our Do More of What You Love: The Insider’s Guide to Booking More Event Rentals Webinar.

When I shared about what to do after you’ve prequalified a potential client for an in-person sales meeting, I suggested that you should always try to get all of the decision-makers in the room at the same time. As you’re setting up the appointment, ask who will be involved in the decision-making process and invite them all to come to the meeting at the same time.

Man, I hear that Courtney! Navigating the wedding planning dynamics between moms, brides, grooms, in-laws, and everyone else that has an opinion can be tricky, right?

As we approach this potential mine field, let’s consider why you may or may not want all of the decision-makers in the room together in the first place.

  • All of these decision-makers are important. Whether or not they are at your meeting, they are contributing to the decision-making process. They have a say. They get a vote. Their opinion matters. If they aren’t in your meeting, they will voice that opinion behind closed doors when you aren’t able to respond.
  • When they come to your sales meeting, you get to educate your potential clients, demonstrate your expertise, and establish trust. The very reasons you should have any sales meeting at all is why you should have all the decision-makers there. You’re creating an experience. You want all of the important people to have that same experience.
  • You’ve spent a lot of time and energy crafting your collection, your brand, your story, your presentation skills, your script, your policies and everything else you communicate in your sales meeting. If key decision-makers don’t get to experience that from you, you don’t know what they will experience. You can’t expect the meeting attendees to effectively communicate all of those things to those who weren’t there.

Given these underlying reasons to have all decision-makers at your sales meetings, here are some tips for managing difficult dynamics that surface:

  • Make sure you verbally explain the structure of the meeting at the beginning so you can direct the conversation and the process. Throughout the meeting, redirect back to your agenda as necessary.
  • Listen to all players. Try to hear the concerns and challenges of each of the participants. Reflect those back to them. If there are competing priorities, ask about that, suggest possible solutions, and give examples of how you’ve addressed a similar problem in the past.
  • If there is tension or obvious disagreement, ask each participant what solution they would feel most comfortable with. You can always include both (or more) options on the proposal and let them make the decision later.
  • Continue to focus on educating your potential client, demonstrating your expertise, and establishing trust. You may have to emphasize different things to each of the decision-makers in order to do this effectively.

As you develop your unique sales process, you may decide that getting all decision-makers in the room at once isn’t the most important element for your success. If that is the case, bravo. More power to you! But in my experience, it is sometimes difficult to move people to take action if you don’t get direct contact with them.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to sell-by-proxy, I highly recommend that you attend Lend & Gather 2017: A Boutique Event Rental Conference. Maria Bayer of Irresistible Selling will be teaching about corporate event rental sales where this issue is front-and-center. Selling to someone who is not your end client can be challenging. Maria will illuminate ways to be more effective and successful in this difficult but lucrative space.

If you have questions about running your event rental business, send them our way. Email it to rw@rwelephant.com with "Friday Q&A" in the subject line. We’ll answer as many questions as we can in the coming weeks.

Happy renting!