Top questions to ask in the decision-making process

July 31, 2014

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

One of the most challenging things in developing new business is identifying the stage of buying in which your prospect is and aligning that with your sales process. If you looked at the last 10 opportunities that you lost, I bet you lost them for failing to truly understand how their decision-making process works and how to help them.

In the 15 years I have been in the secure destruction industry, I have noticed a major change in the prospect’s decision-making process. The information management and destruction decision is now made in the boardroom, not the breakroom. It is now a C suite and consensus-based decision with multiple stakeholders who have different agendas and motives. This can create a complex landscape for salespeople navigating the buying process.

Just like anything, there is no magic wand or silver bullet to know exactly how a decision will be made, but here are some of the top questions you can ask to at least get a better understanding of the prospective client’s process:

  • Who, including yourself, is involved in making this decision?
  • How will the final decision be made? Then what? Ask this a few times to get a clear understanding of it.
  • Who in your organization is responsible for corporate compliance (e.g., HIPAA, FACTA, Red Flag Rule, state shred laws)? Who is responsible for profitability and corporate security? (Hint: it is usually the person at the top of the decision-making chain.)
  • Who in your organization is responsible for legally required, written information protection policies and procedures? How about required employee training?
  • May I ask what your decision-making process is concerning professional services such as outsourced destruction of sensitive material?
  • When we present our customized proposal to your team, will you be the one approving the agreement?
  • Where do we go from here? When should we speak again?
  • Is there anything preventing your organization from moving forward with us?
  • When you speak with the others on your decision-making team, will you suggest moving forward with us?

Learn how to put these techniques and others into practice at Shred School. Good luck, shred heads!