The Consultant’s Guide to Finding the True Buyer
I call the true buyer the “economic buyer.” He or she is that person who has budget or can find the money and can authorize a check. Low level people—as in HR and training—are paid to conserve budget. True buyers are paid to get results, and look at ROI, not costs.
Here are some good questions to ask (though not all at once!):
1. Whose budget will support this initiative?
2. Who can immediately approve this project?
3. To whom will people look for support, approval, and credibility?
4. Who controls the resources required to make this happen?
5. Who has initiated this request?
6. Who will claim responsibility for the results?
7. Who will be seen as the main sponsor and/or champion?
8. Do you have to seek anyone else’s approval?
9. Who will accept or reject proposals?
10. What is your decision making process for these initiatives?
11. If you and I were to shake hands, could I begin tomorrow?
Key Points: The larger the organization, the more the number of economic buyers. They need not be the CEO or owner, but must be able to authorize and produce payment. Committees are never economic buyers. If you are with a non-buyer, leverage the conversation to find the true buyer. Never allow yourself to become a peer of a non-buyer.