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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=value inventory'>value inventory</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales techiniques'>sales techiniques</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Prospecting'>Prospecting</a>
Sales Strategy
Aug 13, 2012 | Michael Nick lock

A key to understanding how to sell to your prospects is grasping why your customers buy from you.

Begin by creating a Value Inventory with five basic rules. These rules are the foundation for developing business issue statements that you can use effectively to define and measure the results and ROI your products and services deliver.

Rule 1: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and state the business issue, pain, or goal from their view point.
This is a fundamental principle that many people overlook. Business issues, pains, and goals are key components to creating sales tools and ROI tools and marketing materials. Understanding why a prospect buys (from their view) will help you create a repeatable plan and process to sell to them.

Rule 2: Focus on decision-makers (i.e. Stakeholders).
This is a major problem in today's sales process. Stakeholders are much more difficult to get to and communicate with. Typically, they reside in the C-Suite and are surrounded by many layers of staff and technology. It is very important to be able to get their attention and bring them to you, when it is nearly impossible to get to them. Social Media can play even more of a major factor, by drawing these people of interest to you, provided you have something worth reading and sharing.

Rule 3: Use the word "Because.”
When you sit down to identify the reasons your customers buy from you, add the word because, and answer your own question. For example, "We need to reduce the amount of discounting we offer." Take the next step and say, " is cutting into our profitability." The key here is the importance of the added ‘because’ and a unit of measure for the reason.

Here are some examples of phrases that might follow the word "because" in your Business Issue statements: is too costly to…
...there is not enough…
...of the time issue with…
...there’s a chance of missing… takes too much time…
...of potential errors with… is not up to date… is difficult to…

Adding because and a unit of measure will ensure your issue and solution is measurable, thus driving value you can rely on in the C-Suite discussion.

Rule 4: Phrase the Business Issue statement from the standpoint of a loss, and tie it specifically to a cost.
You can follow this rule, in most cases, simply by turning your Why Buy Statements into statements of loss. For example, if your Why Buy statement is, "I want to improve my company's recruitment results," your Business Issue statement might be: "Because my company spends too much money finding and locating new hires." Always remember, pain is the best motivator for your prospects to buy from you, and PAIN COMES FROM LOSS!

Rule 5: The loss stated in your Business Issue should be measurable and quantifiable.
Although measurable and quantifiable may seem like the same thing, they are not. Measurable refers to the ability to “measure a result.” Quantifiable refers to a numeric response. Especially in the early stages of the sales cycle, salespeople ask questions and gather information. In the process, we often ask questions that do not require a numeric response. When building sales tools to measure value, it is absolutely necessary for you to obtain information that can be used to measure your value numerically. When applying this rule, be sure to reference the specific pain, issue, or goal you included in your initial reason to buy. Ambiguity will cause you to have to redefine your Business Issue Statements later. The more specific you are in your definition, the easier it will be for you to create a credible and objective sales tool to measure the value that your customers experience.

About the Author:
Michael Nick is author of the book, ROI Selling, which became the standard for developing sales tools and using them throughout the sales process. He is also author of Why Johnny Can’t Sell and The Key to the C-Suite. Michael can be reached at 262.338.1824 or

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.

Recommended Reading:
Keeping Your Clients Loyal - Nine Questions You Need Answered
Customer Satisfaction Surveys - Increasing Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty, Sales and Profit
What Makes Your Product Or Service Valuable

View more sales articles from CPSA’s Knowledge Centre.

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