The YOU in the Question

Quick Summary: Understand if a customer is buying from you, as a person, or from your organization.


There are a number of different products or services and even potential sales reps that the prospect can buy from or chose not to buy from.  Understanding what the prospect needs and what the likely roadblocks you will encounter are critical to answering the last key word in The Question.

The YOU in the question “Who is the Customer, and what is their Single Most Compelling Reason to Buy Now from You?” could mean many different people or methods.  “You” could mean:

  • The CEO who is able to close virtually every account
  • Your cracker-jack sales team
  • Your carefully crafted, compelling web site
  • Your distribution channel partners
  • Your customers to whom you have given an incentive to sell for you

It could also mean a combination or all of the channels or methods listed above.  Without a doubt, very different methods, materials, and tools will be needed for each of the “you channels” listed above to insure they are equipped to respond to the six other key words in The Question.  Those differences may not be obvious but will quickly lead to disappointment with their lack of results.

Probably the best example is the CEO, or perhaps the entrepreneur, who has an uncanny track record of closing sales.  As the potential opportunities increase, and the CEO becomes focused on other company activities, others step in to sell.  Invariably they are not successful.  Frustration sets in.  The contributing factors can be:

  • Others do not know the product or service as well as the CEO does
  • Others have not been exposed to objections and how to handle them
  • Others do not have the name stature or the ability to make on the spot decisions as the CEO does
  • Others may have to pursue “normal” customers that were not in the CEO’s Rolodex or were known early adopters

The list goes on and on but the results are same: disappointment.  Before planning to employ others and expecting orders, carefully think through what is currently making the current “you” successful, and what is transferrable to the new “you”.  Also, carefully develop the other tools that they will need to sell and close on their own.

Equally important to understanding your likelihood of receiving the order is an understanding of “if not us, then who.”  The seemingly obvious answer is that a direct competitor is the most likely source of the loss is often not the case.  The major competitor can easily be an alternative use of funds.  Virtually every household or company budget consists of planned expenditures.  Sometimes budgets are remarkably detailed, while in other cases they consist of a guess or simply expected expenses.  In any case, no matter how big or little, formal or informal, every budget and every expenditure has a sponsor or champion.  In many cases, that person (not department) may be emotionally attached to the line item.  Unless preplanned and allocated, the dollars associated with the purchase of your offering means that something else, sponsored by someone else, probably will not get funded as desired.  Unless your sponsor has clearly moved from the “nice to have” mindset to the “must have” belief, you may lose the budget dollar competition when seemingly all other obstacles were overcome.

Clearly understanding who the “You” is, what they need to be successful, and developing a realistic assessment and plan to counteract any others who want to stop your “You” needs to be developed long before the “you” is somebody else.  It is hard to reverse buying decisions once made.


Article Number : 5.010308   

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