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We all wish for magic wands and other saviors to give us the gist of what we see as a complicated topic. Business development, marketing, and sales are no different. While I can’t give you a magic wand, this cheat sheet should enable you to grasp a framework within which you can operate simply.

  1. Understand the conditions under which your service can be of help to the prospective client. Know what evidence you need to get the prospect to conclude that 1) he has a problem, and 2) he might need someone like you.
  2. Confirm that the suspected conditions apply and that the need is one that your firm or you can fulfill.
  3. Identify and initiate contact with each person in that organization who has a stake in the problem or condition that drives demand for you. Identify the buying Sponsorship group—the critical mass of influencers who, collectively, have the authority to make a decision and allocate funds for a solution, and the logical Champion within that group who, for his or her own reasons, wants to advance this sale to a decision.
  4. Find out how important the underlying problem or condition is to each of these influencers, the value of solving it, and the cost of doing nothing.
  5. Determine what result the organization wants and how each influencer will personally benefit from solving this problem.
  6. Differentiate yourself from competitors by showing a unique value obtainable only from your firm.
  7. Confirm that each influencer favors your solution as the most sensible means of obtaining the necessary results, and that the value offered is sufficiently attractive relative to cost.
  8. Facilitate an informed, sustainable decision among the stakeholders.

If you follow this simple discipline, you'll get a decision reliably, quickly, inexpensively, and painlessly -- for both your prospect and yourself. 

Mike O'Horo


RainmakerVT's interactive simulation of the decision process will allow you to experience this by managing an avatar through a series of "say/do" decision points. For each decision, you'll get immediate video coaching. Check it out the three-part Decision Process here.