Identify the Decision Makers
So the next logical question is: How can I identify the decision makers in a purchase transaction? The best way is to ask!
In making this purchase, who are the ultimate decision makers?
How much authority does each of these people have in the final decision?
Who and what influence but don't make the final decision?
Modify your questions based on what you sell and to whom. The point is to ask questions of individuals to determine who makes the decision and who influences it. You must know this in order to sell appropriately and effectively.
What should I do if I can't identify all of the decision makers and the influencers before I need to start selling?
Assume that everyone is a buyer or decider until you have reason to demote or disqualify them. That means treating the receptionist or secretary as a buyer or at least an influencer in your transaction. It is better to temporarily assume greater authority than it is to later discover that you should have been selling to someone you were ignoring. Some influencers, when given authority, will use it to help your efforts.