To Win the Sale, Rewrite the Rulebook

The best salespeople are proactive and take control of the sale. Rather than simply allowing themselves to be led by a customer who controls the agenda, top producers constantly add value, establish their authority as thought leaders, and steer the customer’s thinking in favorable directions. They don’t play by the rules, but instead look for opportunities to (re)write the rulebook in their favor.

A must-have for any sales organization is a Customer Starter Kit containing documents and materials that will both help the customer and influence their perceived needs. The Starter Kit can be socialized on the very first discovery call with a prospective client, and should contain the following documents:

  • Requirements List
  • Evaluation Plan
  • Deployment Roadmap
  • ROI Calculator
  • Case Studies

The Requirements List is a checklist of the features and functions that a typical company buying your solution should be looking for. Often derived from past RFP responses, it’s heavily weighted in your favor and highlights the areas in which your product shines. Since many buyers have only a vague idea of what their requirements are, they will adopt many of your recommendations. When your features become the client’s desired features, you simply can’t lose.

If your client isn’t an experienced buyer, the Evaluation Plan gives them a roadmap detailing how to evaluate a buy a product like yours. It’s an opportunity to guide them through the process and lead them to the inescapable conclusion that you are the best answer to their needs. When you help the client and save them time, you build the type of relationship that leads to a sale.

Does the client want to get off to a fast start, or take their time with a custom deployment? The Deployment Roadmap spells out the different paths a client can pursue with your product and key choices they need to make. When you can change a prospect’s mindset from “Do I buy?” to “How can I be successful?”, you’ve won.

Every major purchase needs to be backed up by a strong business case, and the ROI Calculator helps your client to quantify the benefits they’ll see by purchasing your product. Clients can input and fine-tune their specific information to create a credible financial model, and use this to build an internal case for the purchase. Add specific case studies that detail the benefits that your customer have realized by working with you and you’ll give the buyer everything they need to close the deal.

Rewriting the rulebook helps you to accomplish a number of key goals. You’re demonstrating your expertise and thought leadership. You’re presenting an organized approach to the buying process that gives the client confidence in you. You’re positioning yourself as the frontrunner and shutting out the competition. Finally, you’re adding value, helping the client and saving them time. Take the initiative and be proactive in the sales cycle and you’ll find yourself winning the business more often than not.

Rewrite the Rulebook is Technique #1 in my book “The 40 Best Sales Techniques Ever: Conquer the Leaderboard, Crash President’s Club, and Make More Money.” Perks members receive a 10% discount.

Good luck and good selling – Jonathan

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Customer Relationship Management, Sales Management, Sales performance, The Sales Cycle, Top Producers


  1. Carl Wideberg

    Jonathan is spot on that the best sales people are the ones that can set the ground rules for the sale with the client. In many cases helping the client with creating the rules leads to a win. If the client sees that you “have your act together” they will trust you and use your ideas. Some examples of this is providing your client with a sample or real proposal (redact the names of the client). If the client wants to put out an RFP offer to provide a sample to help. Most clients, in my experience, will take advantage of your offer.

    Jonathan references an ROI Calculator. iSalesman offers our Members a very flexible and easy to use ROI Calculator. 90% of your clients expect you to know how to compose an ROI Analysis supporting your Proposal. Make the offer to develop the ROI WITH your client! Through the years, as I and my sales teams got proficient at having the ROI conversation, our clients were eager to work with us and we became the stalking horse for the competing sales teams. Showing our clients what the Cash Flow, Net Present Value, Payback Month and ROI was for our Proposal was impressive, particularly if we sat on the same side of the client’s desk and jointly computed the numbers. Not doing the ROI is like a football game where you get the ball to the goal line and HOPE that you score. The ROI can help you score that Sales Touchdown!

  2. Jonathan Jewett Post author

    Great points Carl, and the ROI calculator is invaluable. Everyone needs to present a business case, and the easier and more believable you can make this for the prospect, the better your chances of winning the deal.