Getting Started and Buying Influences

Getting Started and Buying Influences

The Getting Started section includes your Buying Influences, the Valid Business Reason, and the Credibility information.  

Fig. 23, Getting Started Section

Buying Influence

A Buying Influence is the individual who can have a positive or negative impact on your opportunity, whatever position, company or role in any given sale. Since the roles of the Buying Influences are diverse and may change frequently, you should begin your information analysis by determining whether you know all the Buying Influences for each upcoming sales call.  The concept of analysis of the Buying Influences is covered in depth in the Strategic Selling® Process.  However, when thinking about your sales call, keep in mind the following:

  • Who will have final approval authority for the Single Sales Objective I'm currently pursuing?

  • Which person or people in the buying organization will actually use (or manage the use of) the product or service I'm selling?

  • Which person or people will be judging my proposal?

  • Do I have a guide, that is, someone who can provide me with reliable information for this sale?

  • With regard to the individual I'm going to be calling on next, what is this person's degree of influence in the sale?

Once you have the Buying Influences identified in the account or associated with the account, access the Buying Influence input by clicking on the Add icon in the section header.

Fig. 23a, Getting Started Buying Influences

Selection of the Buying Influences comes from the Account Contacts within the CRM system.  If a Single Sales Objective has been completed (Blue Sheet) and the Green Sheet was launched from it, then the first Buying Influence is pre-populated in some CRM/SFA systems.

When you have finished entering or editing the data, select "Done" to save any changes and close the section.  Select the Trash Can icon to delete a blank entry or delete a Buying Influence from the section.  

Entering a Buying Influence

Click on the Add icon to launch the open the section.  Select the contact associated with the activity from the list.  If the contact

is not there, select search to launch the contact search dialog.

Fig. 23b, Getting Started Contact List

Search Function - Account Contacts

In the window, select the "Search" tab to open the search window.  Type in the name or a partial name for the contact you wish to search.  Every contact matching your criteria will appear in a scroll menu.  The more information entered into the Contact Name search, the more the amount of potential contacts in the available list will be reduced.  The search results return matching Contact Names along with their Title, to make it easier to select the correct individual as a Buying Influence.  

Select the name you wish to highlight and the contact's name will appear in the Contact Name box and the search function will close.

Fig. 23c, Getting Started Search Function

Buying Influence's Concept

The Buying Influence's Concept should be thought of in terms of striving for a Win-Win result.  A Win-Win result is more desired over other possibilities for the two following reasons:

  1. It is more profitable than any other option or quadrant in the Win/Lose Diamond.

  2. It is more comfortable than any other quadrant.

Fig. 23d, Buying Influence's Concept

When considering the Buying Influence's Concept, remember the quadrants and how they may affect client satisfaction and repeat business:

  • Win-Win: Both you and the customer feel satisfied with the deal and you both feel satisfied with your business relationship

  • Win-Lose: You feel good about the sale, but for whatever reason, the customer feels that they have gotten the short-end of the stick.

  • Lose-Win: Your customer is satisfied, but in some way you've had to "buy the business" - so you feel you've gotten the short end of the stick.

  • Lose-Lose: In spite of the fact that you've closed the deal, you both wish you'd never done business together-and you are probably determined never to do it again.

To narrow down the Buying Influence's Concept to reach the Win-Win quadrant, remember the following three clues:

  1. Discrepancy - A perceived gap in the prospect's mind between where he/she is right now and where he/she wants to be.

  2. Importance in addressing the customer's Concept, you always need to be alert to the level of importance he/she assigns to a given task to be accomplished.

  3. Solving a problem - A synonym for Concept is "solution image".  If your customer has an urgent problem, the discrepancy level is by definition going to be great.

In Summary, picking up the customer's Concept is not incidental to good selling, it is the basis on which all long-term success is built because it's the only thing that ties in directly to what the individual customer wants to accomplish.

Valid Business Reason

A Valid Business Reason is something that gives a potential buyer a reason for wanting to spend some of their valuable time in a meeting with you.  It may reinforce your reasons for wanting to make the call, but it emphasizes their priorities, not yours.  It accomplishes two major purposes:

  1. It gives the potential customer information they need in order to understand exactly who you are and why you want to schedule a meeting at this time.
  2. It establishes a common foundation so that when you do meet, you will be able to comfortably begin the questioning process by concentrating on understanding the customer's Concept.

To enter a Valid Business Reason, click on the shaded text entry box and type in your entry.  Click off the section to save your entry.

If the repository icon is available, you may select from the Suggested Items list and click "Done" to complete your entry.

Fig. 23e, Valid Business Reason

The six key ideas involved in this critical prerequisite are:

  1. Sets the purpose of the appointment from the customer's perspective.

  2. Shows you are prepared and thinking about the client's problems.

  3. Minimizes your calling time; a screening device that enables you to cut down on the number of calls to concentrate on real chance mutual success.

  4. Decode as "Time is valuable" for both you and the client.

  5. Sets mutual expectations for the meeting.

  6. Gives customers the time they need to prepare in advance.

Determining whether you really have a Valid Business Reason may be the most difficult thing of all.  There are five questions you should ask yourself in advance of every call.

  1. Will the client accept the reason I want to see him/her as having an impact on their Concept or solution image?

  2. Does the Valid Business Reason tell the customer or prospect why they should place this call at the top of their priority list?

  3. Does the Valid Business Reason make it clear what's in the sales call for the customer?

  4. Is it clear that my Valid Business Reason relates to the customer's business, not just my own?

  5. Is this Valid Business Reason stated concisely and clearly enough to be left on voice mail or email or relayed by an assistant?


Credibility is as fragile as it is valuable, and nobody ever really "gets" it once and for all.  A more accurate way is to say that the Conceptual salesperson gains credibility in an ongoing process rather than the nailing it down for all time.   There are three basic ways to gain credibility.

  1. Credibility by reputation, which is gaining trust because of reputation.
  2. Credibility transferred through a customer from a respected colleague, a business associate, a past satisfied customer, or someone else the customer trusts; that person's credibility can be transferred to you.
  3. Credibility earned; gaining credibility as you earn it yourself.

Credibility is a free form text entry field.  Select whether you have credibility via the yes/no buttons, then input your Credibility statements directly into the text field on the Green Sheet.

Fig. 23f, Credibility

If the Repository Icon is available, then Suggested items for Credibility exist.  Click on the Suggested Icon to open the Suggested Items list and make your selection.  Click "Done" to save your selection.

Guidelines for earning credibility will help you with every face-to-face encounter.

  1. Ask precise questions - the more focused and specific, the clearer it will be to the client that you've done your homework.

  2. Listen intently.  Demonstrate to the customer you're actively listening with the appropriate body language and supportive responses.  

  3. Be yourself.

  4. Don't be a know-it-all.  Don't give your prospect pat answers, and don't under any circumstances suggest that you know more than he does.

  5. Stay Win-Win. Demonstrate to the prospective buyer that you're not ignoring yourself.

  6. Always remember that you have to deliver.

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