Yes, the word buyer is meant to be pluralized.
In any complex sale, there are said to be multiple buyers. A great book that delves into this is ‘Strategic Selling” by Miller and Heiman. They identify these influences as the Technical Buyer, the User Buyer, the Economic Buyer, and the Coach. The book has a detailed process that they suggest to address this issue, but my intention here is just to bring the awareness to it, (not to write a book report :))
To be brief, User Buyers use your product, Technical Buyers find resons to disqualify you as a vendor, Economic Buyers write the checks, and Coaches help you navigate the process. You need to have all of these buyers on board to close a sale.
In some cases one person may fill more than one role, or multiple people may fill one roll. The term “Buyer” is intended to mean “Buying Influence”.
I used to do outside sales calls with a guy who sold garage doors. We would always go into an office together and ask for the purchasing manager. Inevitably, we would be turned away, and I would ask the receptionist to leave him/her my card for later follow up. Everytime I started to turn to leave, something unusual happened.
The garage door rep., instead of leaving a card and heading for the door, would pull out his book of garage doors and start selling to the receptionist. “These are heavy gauge steel . . . dent resistant . . . they have anodized paint, etc. It was almost comical at times, to watch the receptionist, who was not a decision maker in any of the buying roles, feign interest as he clammored on for 5 minutes.
God Bless him, he loved those doors! He just mistook everyone for a potential buying influence.
It takes some skill to uncover all the decision makers in a sale. However it all starts with awareness. First you have to know what you don’t know. Once you find out that, you formulate a plan to learn it. Isolating all the influences means you have to be dedicated to a customer centric process. One that starts with actually caring and learning about your customer.
We’ll talk about that next.