Who’s The Decision Maker?

Sales mistakes I made so you don’t have to.

I once asked Mary, a Director of Benefits, this question:

“Who is the decision maker?”

Here’s Mary:
“Well, that’s a stupid question. Do you know what my title is?”


That’s what happens when you bruise a person’s ego.

Nobody wants to feel like a small fish in a big pond.

If I had a do ever, I would have said this:

✅ “As someone with a long and successful career in HR, it seems like you have a process for making decisions about this.”

✅ “Sounds like you’re the only one who gets involved.”

✅“Seems like there are others on your team who might be interested in learning about this.”

✅ “Not sure if this is the case for you Mary, but typically the CHRO wants to chime in when considering a solution like this. Do you think it‘s a terrible idea to loop them in?”

The psychology?

  1. Protects your prospect’s ego.
  2. People like correcting, not being corrected.

Chris Voss calls this labeling. Labeling is a magical technique for getting more information in a way that lowers the Zone of Resistance.

Oh, and don’t ask this question too early. It can feel self-serving. Slow down there, cowboy.

Wait until the prospect has expressed interest. Typically after a demo.