A Simple Framework for Thinking About Simple Deals

I write a lot about the complex sale. Selling well is difficult, and it is only getting more challenging. Deals are more complex as companies make more buying decisions by consensus. The outcomes are also more complicated and more difficult to obtain.

But this isn’t true for everyone, and it isn’t true for every deal. Not every deal you sell is complex or complicated. Some are really pretty simple. Here is a simple little framework you can use to think about those deals.

Who Do You Need and Who Needs You?

One simple way to evaluate and think about an opportunity is to start with the question “Who do I need to win this deal?” Just making a list of the people you need to open an opportunity and win a deal can guide your efforts in developing the right relationships.

Another way, and an even better way, is to ask the question: “Who needs me?” Who are the contacts within your dream client that need your help? Who is struggling with the challenges that you can help to overcome?

Starting with the “who” is a great way to identify, open, and win an opportunity. Even a simple opportunity.

What Do They Need and How Do You Create Value?

Now that you have identified the contacts that you need (and who also needs you), you can start to identify what they actually need.

What results do your dream client contacts need that they aren’t presently getting? What product, service, or solution will help them achieve those results? When you meet with your dream client contacts, you can develop better answers to these questions.

But the most important question to follow up with is this: “How do I create value around this need?” How does what you do to create value align with what your dream client needs? If it doesn’t line up, then they aren’t your dream client. If the value you can create for them does line up, you can develop a solution and start presenting it.

Why Do They Need It and Why Are You the Right Choice?

If you want a compelling reason for your dream client to buy, you need to understand why they need what they need. There is an old saying in sales: “People don’t buy drills. They buy holes.” It’s true. If they could have the holes without buying the drill, they would.

The question you need to ask is “why does my dream client need what they need?” Want the fastest way to this answer? Ask them why they need what they need; they’ll tell you. Ask the question three or four times in a row and you will come to some answer about increased revenue, increased profit, or reduced costs. Ask what increased revenue, increased profit, or decreased costs does for your dream client contacts and you’ll know their personal motivation.

If you want to know how to win, ask yourself the hard question: “What makes me the right choice?” If you can’t easily answer that question (and if you’re honest, it’s one of the toughest questions in business), then try this one: “What could I do to make me the very best choice?” It’s a tough question too, isn’t it? Here is one more question you can try: “Who do I have to be to be the very best choice?”

It’s a simple framework for simple deals, but that still doesn’t make it easy!


Is every deal you sell complex? Or are some really pretty simple?

Do you know who you need to create and win a simple opportunity?

Do you know who needs you?

Do you understand what your contacts want and how you create value for them?

Do you know why your dream client wants what they want?

What makes you the very best choice of a partner to give your dream client what they want?

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Filed under: Sales

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