You know your product can save a prospective customer money. The customer's employees know they can earn a bonus for suggesting ways to cut costs at their companies. Why not tie the two together and work them into your sales pitch? Bob Malone, CEO of Compaction Technologies Inc., in Portland, Ore., has done just that. He hit on the idea when he answered a phone call from a prospective customer's employee who wanted to know how much money Compaction's hazardous-waste trash compactor would save his company over a year.

Malone figures that in about half of the selling situations where it's applicable, this cost-savings sales pitch helps things get going. "Most of the companies that have these programs are larger companies," he says, "and the savings can really add up."