Making The Buyer’s Short List

The better a salesperson understands his/her customer’s business, the better able the salesperson is to help the customer improve their business.  Improving a customer’s business rarely has “price” as the leading topic of interest.  Price never plays a factor in something that a buyer doesn’t want or doesn’t understand.

Yet, with the pressure to deliver quarterly revenue targets, many sales mangers and performers grab the price lever, believing that price is the fastest way to accelerate a sale to close.   Let’s examine a simple approach to getting invited to the short list party… one that doesn’t include pricing/discounting.


To improve a prospect’s business, three objectives are always of interest:

  • Increasing revenues
  • Decreasing cost
  • Decreasing risk

It’s a pretty short list isn’t it?  Analyze any business-to-business transaction… and at the root of that transaction there is a buyer’s motivation to achieve/improve one or more of these three objectives.

High performing selling organizations have made the investment to understand the motivations and needs of their buyers… as well as the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that buyers use to run their business.

The best way that a salesperson can quickly gain traction in a sales call is by having insightful views on how the seller’s product offering will support or advance the buyer’s business strategy. 

Having a greater ability than your competitors to directly link your product or service with the buyer’s business strategy gets you invited to the bake-off / short list.

Sales organizations that have trained their salespeople to research their buyers and to converse with each of these buyer-types in a highly personalized conversation are clearly at an advantage… because they can have a more consultative conversation and speak in terms that are meaningful for their potential buyer.

Key take-aways:

  • Quit talking about price
  • Understand your customer’s business strategy
  • Understand how your product or service adds value to that business strategy
  • Identify the different buyers that are involved in the approval of your sale
  • Develop and train your sales people how to most effectively engage with these different buyers

Incite: to stir up or provoke to action