Greg ChapmanWe had an outstanding interview with Sitewire president Greg Chapman on last week’s Expert Series Call.  Greg offered compelling insights into how executives in large companies approach and complete their buying decisions.

Two  highlights:

Purchasing Agents.  Greg explained that the decision-making processes for buying goods or services inside of big companies are changing dramatically.  Although there was a time at Sears (catalog division) when he could choose any marketing firm that he wanted to work with, eventually there was corporate pressure to involve the procurement department.  At first he resented what he perceived to be their interference, but he learned to work with them and keep them in the loop so he could better accomplish his own goals.  So you, as a small business seller, need to be respectful to the purchasing agent who may be in the room during your discussions and presentations.  He or she is a big player at the Buyers’ Table.  If an RFP comes out, be certain that you follow the rules explicitly.  Your champion cannot help you if you don’t.

Trade Shows:  As a big company buyer, Greg attended many trade shows.  And while he was at a show, it was for the express purpose of talking to people and learning what was available.  As a Sharper Image executive, he would get pulled into booths with representatives begging him to learn about their stuff.  What impressed him?  Give him a powerful 30-second presentation of your product.  Why he should care.  In the catalog world, a customer may spend only 10 seconds on the picture of an item and will rarely read copy.  So, be ready to pitch your stuff effortlessly and succinctly.

The 60-minute interview has been recorded and is available online at Pier9, The Whale Hunters online community, for premium members only.