The Three Key People in the Decision Making Process


It’s a common misconception that sales is a “one-on-one” style of business practice where an individual sells something to another individual. Often times, there are people in the background who have a heavy influence on the decision-making process that are easily forgotten about.

Picture the following scenario: You are a seasoned sales rep and have a brand new product to show your customer. As you finish your presentation, the customer is energized, excited, and motivated to buy. However, a few hours later, the customer unexpectedly calls you and decides not to purchase.

You may have had this happen before. It’s just one of many situations that can happen when the decision-making process is influenced by someone other than the customer. It’s the mark of a master salesperson to know the key people involved in the process AND know how to handle each person accordingly.

The Decision Maker

The decision maker, ultimately, is your primary customer. Whoever is responsible and whoever has the authority to make purchases is the decision maker. This is the person that you are accustomed to speaking with. At the end of the day, your job is to convince the decision maker that purchasing your product/service is a good allocation of their money. You must show them the return on their investment by explaining the features, advantages, and benefits in a way that will benefit them. Most of your sales efforts will go in to speaking and communicating with the decision maker.

The Influencer

The influencer is someone who the decision maker trusts. It’s someone who has no authority to make purchases but can easily influence the decision maker in any given direction. An influencer can be anybody – it can be a partner, a coworker, an administrative assistant, etc.

Identifying the influencer can be tough, but if you ask the right questions, you can figure out who they are and hopefully speak with them. To figure out who the influencers are, simply ask the decision maker “Is there anybody else who would be interested in hearing more about this before we go forward?” or “Is there anybody else who you think would have questions for me before we move forward?” Ideally, the decision maker should then bring anyone else to your attention (that is, if you’ve built up enough trust!)

Once you know who the influencers are, you really don’t have to give the full sales pitch to them. All the influencers have to know is the overall value of your product/service and why it’s perfect for them. This is really an elevator-style pitch that should be easy to understand. If you can’t sum up why your product/service is amazing in under a few minutes, you’re going to have a hard time convincing the influencer.

The Negator

The negator is almost like the influencer, but the negator specialized in one thing and one thing only – saying no. The negator is either the gatekeeper who refuses to let you even see the decision maker or someone who sweeps in at the last minute to red light the deal. The negator can be anyone from a spouse at home to a corporate financial advisor.

The best way to deal with the negator is to act as if they are there and anticipate them. Asking questions such as “Is there anybody else we should consult with before we move forward with the purchase?” or “Will there be anyone else involved that we should clear this with?” are good ways to determine if a negator is lurking in the shadows. It’s better to address it when you are with the decision-maker than later on after they’ve already negated the deal.



Enjoyed this article? Join like-minded business professionals and please subscribe below to receive tips, motivation, and inspiration sent to you for free every Monday. Also, don’t forget to share this if you found this post enjoyable.



Author: Jason Karaman

Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service author, blogger and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *