SELLING A BUSINESS

12 Things Customers Care About

There are several key factors that can cause a customer to sign on the dotted line. Make sure your offering is tied to one or more.
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Selling business to business is impossible unless your offering addresses what really matters to the decision makers.

There are 12 sales hooks that provide a reason for a decision maker to want to buy something from you. So to make sure the deal moves forward, be sure that you have tied your sales message to one or more of the following issues.

1. Finances: Workers must perform, making earnings bigger or costs smaller.

2. Operations: Managers must use every resource (human and otherwise) strategically.

3. Suppliers: Executives must strengthen a firm's role in its industry's supply chain.

4. Business partners: Companies must balance alliances and rivalries.

5. Customers: Retailers and wholesalers worry about how customers will perceive their decisions.

6. Competitors: Executives worry about other companies stealing business.

7. Globalization: Companies must adapt to far-flung risks and opportunities.

8. Regulation: Your prospective customer must comply with laws, protections, and limitations.

9. Internal politics: Savvy managers must resolve organizational differences and turf wars.

10. Career: Workers of all levels are always positioning for their next job assignment.

11. Hiring: Managers need to get talented people on board and productive.

12. Retention: Executives don't want their top people to leave.

Note: Numbers 1 through 8 are from a conversation with Dr. Stephen Bistritz and Nicholas Read, authors of the bestseller Selling to the C-Suite. Numbers 9 through 12 are based on my own observations.

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IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 17, 2012

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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