Decision Maker Gumbo: Handling the Unexpected in a Sales Call

What makes a great gumbo?

Depending on who the chef is, you may get different answers. I believe they would all agree that gumbo at its core is a stew made of a wide variety of meat, seafood and vegetables.

Gumbo is interesting because depending on where you live or are visiting, you don't know what spices, texture, or consistency a chef is going to throw in. The same is true when working with a new prospect for the first time.

Just like with gumbo, with new prospects you often find unexpected stakeholders in the meeting or on the conference call. These stakeholders will contribute to the decision making process and represent various disciplines within that organization.

This is what is known as decision maker gumbo.

Instead of meat or seafood, you could encounter decision makers focused on risk and finance, when your point of contact that scheduled the meeting may head up service or technology. These unexpected stakeholders can potentially take your presentation down a different path, or position questions in a way that is important to them. Being unprepared for the decision maker gumbo can ultimately hurt the sale.

You may be thinking that a proper plan or the ability to overcome objections could help ensure that a meeting doesn’t get derailed.

This leads to the "let’s make that a takeaway item" or "we will follow up with you" – but these go-to’s often spoil your gumbo. In today's world, people have limited time and expectations are high. There is also a ton of competition and most decision makers are oversaturated by pitch decks talking about the same value proposition, just in a different format or color scheme.

Bring your own gumbo recipe.

So, how does one differentiate themself in today’s market and “wow” prospects right on the spot? You have to bring a gumbo made of technical, consultative and service related ingredients.

It is not just about talking about solving the prospect's problem or asking the right discovery questions, but showing them how you are going to solve their issues through flow charts and technical diagrams. These resources complement the conversation and let you overcome the objections of the most technical or skeptical stakeholders.

This strategy allows you to solve their problem while simultaneously “showing your work.” This builds instant credibility and helps to make the decision much easier for your prospect.

The key with this strategy is to make your presentation simple yet detailed, a little unexpected yet disciplined. Similar to gumbo.

What’s your take on a great gumbo? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with our team here.