The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


The right person…

Have you ever noticed how many times the topic of selling to the “right person” comes up?  If you’re a sales leader, have you noticed how often you ask the question, “Who is the decision maker?” in your forecast meetings?

If you’re a Human Resources Manager, or a Controller, or an IT Director, have you ever noticed how many times sales reps you meet with ask, “Now in addition to yourself, who else at your company will be involved in this very important decision?”

If you’re a sales rep, have you ever noticed how many times the prospect tells you, “I’ve been designated the point person at our company for this evaluation”?  Stymied!

WOW!  I’m not sure who this mystical person known as “the right person” is that everyone seems to be seeking.  There is so much being said and so much being written about the “right person” that it makes me wonder why everyone else we meet with is considered “the wrong person”?

Do we believe that if we just get through to the right person we will win the business?  Can it actually be that simple?  Probably not; LoL!  What are we afraid of, a little conflict; some dissent?

Alfred Sloan, Chairman and CEO of General Motors for years was in a Board meeting about to make an important decision.  He said, “I take it that everyone is in basic agreement with this decision.”  Everyone nodded.  Sloan looked at the group and said, “Then I suggest we postpone the decision.  Until we have disagreement, we don’t understand the problem.”

IMHO finding the “right person” is a fantasy.  In business, there are not “right people” or “wrong people” – there are just people.  And to run a business today, it takes a village, yes?  Sometimes the prospect’s people want to interact with us to help facilitate their purchase decision.  Truth be told, most decisions in Corporate America today are made by committee, true?

I mean, according to our favorite, Unknown Sage the mythical “Decision Maker” is a rare sighting:

A decision is what people make when they can’t find anyone to serve on a committee.

Though we still insist on seeking that mythical “Decision Maker”, how professional do we go about our search?  Remember this old adage, “People buy from people they like.”  How likable can we be when while continuously seeking the “right person” we imply everyone else we come across must be the “wrong person”?

It reminds me of the sales reps that called my wife to follow up her inquiry on buying an indoor riding arena for her and her horses.  Only a few sales reps agreed to meet with her without her husband participating.  They must have assumed I was the “right person”.  I wasn’t.  Only the firms that met with her ultimately had a chance to win the contract.

For sales professionals today, sometimes our role is simply to help the prospect complete their purchase transaction – nothing more.  No relationship; no consultation; no joy; just the transaction.  In fact, if the “right person” at our prospect could download an app on their phone vs. dealing with us to begin with, they probably would.

And as it turns out, the “right person” is the company (and committee) that transacts; with their own buying process; that may or may not match our preferred sales cycle; and that we may or may not even be invited to participate in.

Hmmm, from the prospect’s perspective I wonder, “Are we the right person?”


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  1. John Harris
    Aug 04, 2015

    Another great read Gary! I’ll be sharing this with our reps today.
    I’m not a “sales guy” per-se, more of a consultant who seeks to educate the prospects and existing clients in a manner that empowers them to make the best decisions for them. I leave the sales part up to the pros. However, I’ll sometimes ask about the responsible parties in an effort to save them time and improve accuracy of communication. A middle man in the buying process can skew the information ( ever play telephone as a kid?), and delay an effectual decision by those who are responsible for guiding the project in a positive direction. For me, it’s not about seeking the magical buyer as a sales rep would, it’s about cutting through the fog of time and misunderstandings to create an environment for perfect decision making.

    • Gary
      Aug 05, 2015

      Stellar comments John – thanks for sharing! I’m not so sure you’re actually a “middle man” and not a “sales professional”. The two look quite similar to me 🙂 Thx, GAP

  2. Nathan Sumner
    Sep 08, 2015

    Good thoughts. I’ll try to keep up from now on…

    • Gary
      Sep 08, 2015

      Thanks as always Nate, for reading and commenting on my little ditties. Thx, GAP

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