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What to do when the decision maker role changes

You’ve spent hours, days even months cultivating a relationship with a decision maker or influencer at one of your customers. One day that person is gone and the whole relationship with the customer can change instantly.

Jay Hagerty, National Account Executive for NationaLease, offered some tips on what to do when that happens. He provided attendees at the recent NationaLease Sales Meeting with some do’s and don'ts when their long-time contact has been replaced.


  • Immediately make an appointment to see the new person. Get yourself in front of the new contact person ASAP so you can begin cultivating a relationship with him or her.
  • Treat the new contact the same way you would a prospect. Don’t assume the new contact knows anything about you or your company. Begin the education process so you can quickly bring them up to speed.
  • Identify their role. Make sure you understand the scope of their job. Do they have the same responsibility and authority as your previous contact?
  • Identify any red flags. Listen extra closely during the first few meetings with the new contact so you can quickly identify any potential problem areas and react to them.


  • Ignore the change. The worst thing you can do is pretend nothing has changed. Adjust to the new reality and alter your approach as needed
  • Underestimate the new person’s influence, perceptions and preferences. Spend time with the person to determine how they want to be communicated with and what they expect from you. Don’t assume they want the same things your previous contact did.
  • Feel protected by a contract. Just because you have a contract doesn’t mean it will stay in force. There is an old adage about the longer the contract the easier it is to break. Meet with the new contact person to reinforce the reasons they should continue to do business with you or your company.
  • Forget about your team. While your sales skills played a role in getting the business in the first place, other people within your organization provided support and backup. Rely on their expertise to help you reach the new contact person.
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