Freed: "Analyzing the Buyers"

Freed, Richard. "Analyzing the Buyers." Writing Winning Business Proposals: Your Guide to Landing the Client, Making the Sale, Persuading the Boss. New York: McGrawHill, 2003. Print. 83-99.



Logic rarely enough. People are involved.


Identifies four buying roles:


  • economic buyer: gives final approval. Concerned with bottom line (strategic position, competitiveness, profitability, meeting business goals and objectives). Usually only one per sale (but 1 may be committee). Discretionary use of funds; veto power. Primary question: "what will be the overall performance improvement and return on this investment?" (85).
  • user buyer: judges impact on operational performance. f/x on potentially affected organizational units. will be directly affected by project, may have subjective response to proposal; important for implementation & continuing relationships. Often several in number. Primary question: "How will the project affect my job and those I manage?" (86)
  • technical buyer: to screen out; concerned with quant aspects (ROI, Price, Match of specs); often several/many. Judges by quantifiable; makes recommendations, acts as gatekeeper; can''t say yes, but can say no. Primary Question: "Do the proposed approach and qualifications meet our specifications?" (86)
  • the coach: acts as guide for proposal opportunity. focus is on your success with selling opp; should dev at least one in your or buyer''s firm or outside both. Can be found in firm, outside, in BoD. Wants you to win, provides/interprets info. (your ally). Primary Question: "How can we pull this off, together?" (87). 
  • the ratifier: ''blesses'' the recommendation of the economic buyer. Concerned with available resources and their allocation as well as potential environ/cultural conflicts in organization. If exists, usually only one in corp; sometimes several in gov. Higher up. Ratifies recommendation, acts as gatekeeper, has veto power. Primary Question: "Will this project and these proposers meet my broader ''political'' and/or personal objectives?" (89).


S1 perception varies by buyer and buying role. S2 will eliminate everyone''s perception of S1. Perceived benefits accruing from achieving S2 vary by user and buying role.


Freed suggests:


  • classifying each member of buying team according to role/roles in buying situation. Ratifier, in his opinion, can only play one additional role: coach.
  • Identify each buyer''s perception of S1 remembering perception conditioned by buying role, position in organization, and personality.
  • ID for each buyer benefits from S2
  • Try to develop at least one coach. (93)