Decision Makers vs. Decision Influencers: A New Perspective

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“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Peter F. Drucker

So how would you make someone decide in YOUR favor and say they have made the right decision?

Enticing customers to decide in favor of your products and services involves technical skills and interpersonal skills. And finding the right person to talk to gets complicated each day. Should you speak to the decision-maker, or should you be finding the influencer?

But then again...Does it have to be a question of decision-makers vs. decision influencers? 


It is crucial to know the DMU or Decision Making Unit of an organization. Give due focus to both the person who signs the check and the products and/ or services' end-users. Group buying has gained momentum.

 A decision-making process may include dozens of employees with different fields of expertise. Understand who is influencing who, when, how, and why. Seek a collaborative conversation that surfaces the customer's pain points. 

This can provide you an opportunity to present your company and your products as the cure to their problems

Understand who is influencing who, when, how, and why. Seek a collaborative conversation that surfaces the customer's pain points. This can provide you an opportunity for your company and your products as the cure to their problems.

Identify the roles of each member to know how to approach them best. Sustainable networking is the key. You still want to engage each one of them. Buying gets more complicated, diverse, and democratic these days. 

The concept of targeting only one decision-maker is not practical anymore. Because the thing today is group buying.



Have you ever wondered that maybe, your idea of what and who is the decision-maker is not current anymore to the changing business demographics?

The Gatekeepers

One of the best pieces of advice you’ll ever get and wise to heed is never to work around the gatekeepers. It may be tempting to call the decision-maker when the assistant is not there. But remember gatekeepers are often valued and trusted employees. 

To build trust, it is important to work with them and have them vouch for you with the decision-maker. It is not healthy to offend or antagonize the gatekeepers. They are there for a reason. 

Engage them instead of going above, below, or behind their back.

The Blockers

The blockers wield considerable powers as the primary contact and source of information. As the main point of contact, they will answer your calls and letters. But then they stop answering your calls, your emails unopened...they fade away! 

The deal stalled or halted or (forbid!) end. You've been ghosted! That’s the specialty and one of the powers of the blockers. You can prevent this from happening by engaging the blockers and turning them over to your side.

Make the blockers your insider; your way and weapon to get to the decision-maker.

The Influencers

The influencers are usually the ones who do the research and find solutions. They may not have the budget or authority to make the final decision but they have the ear of the decision-maker. They have a huge impact on the outcome.

You will do well to have them on your side making the sales pitch for your products and services.  Indeed, in most organizations, there is only one Decision Maker. 

But he bases his decisions on the recommendations of the influencers. So, adapt your sales approach to please the needs of the influencers. This will ensure an agreeable outcome and a positive result. 

Again remember, a sustainable business network is the key.

The Economic Decision Maker

The economic decision-maker is the one who pulls the trigger, no question about that. But, these days, decision-making is more disaggregated and consensus-driven.

Often the decision-maker delegates the process of researching for solutions to influencers until it's further along. He has his trusted gatekeepers and blockers. He asks, values, and takes into consideration the suggestions of the DMU before he inks the check.


Everyone has a role to play. So make sure as you build your brand in your target market you gather valuable perspectives. In short, don’t disregard, instead, seek to always collaborate. 

To close a deal, it is necessary to know more about where you are right now and where you are trying to go. And all the stages between.

 It is a challenge for most salespeople to gather intelligence on their prospective clients. It is not easy to spotlight the identity of those elusive decision-makers. 

The best resource for these is those people you may have been trying your best to avoid. So change course, change your perspective. Don’t choose between, instead embrace all.