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Leverage your way to a deal

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To capture your dream client, it’s necessary to deliver a compelling value proposition. In the past, this is how I have described the challenge of enticing your dream client into making a change. But perhaps a better world for what you need is “leverage.”

So what is leverage? Leverage (noun): 1) the action of a lever, a rigid bar that pivots about one point and is used to move an object at a second point by force applied at a third; 2) the power or ability to act or influence people, events, decisions, etc.

Now, you may believe that the second definition is the applicable one, but it’s the first definition that interests me. I like the visual image of using a lever to pivot around a first point and move an object at a second point by applying force at a third point.

The second point is the person or persons who stand to gain the most from your initiative (or lose the most by not acting)—your dream clients. What is the force you apply to that lever? Whatever is at stake.

Those occupying third point, the stakeholders who would move forward with you if they could, need help with the object at the second point. Maybe that object is the status quo and its deeply entrenched defenders. Maybe the second point is occupied by the “decision-maker” or the person with the formal authority to ink a deal. Whoever (or whatever) is occupying the second point needs to move. And the greater the resistance, the more you need to surround them with people who will press for your initiative and reasons to change now. In other words, the more leverage you need.

Implications: Creating leverage. Weak implications or weak outcomes provide too little leverage to counteract the heavy resistance of inertia. The greater the implications (whether good or bad) and the greater the outcome for your dream client, the more leverage you have.

If your dream client tells you he could buy from you as easily in June as in October, you have to find the leverage to convince him to buy at the earlier time. You need to help him see what he will lose in those four months. What will it cost him to wait? Increased expenses, lost revenue, lost profits? This is your negative force lever.

And what will he gain by acting now? Will he realize an immediate financial improvement? Some strategic advantage? That’s your positive force lever. Different stakeholders may be compelled by different levers, so it pays to know your audience.

Think about your stalled commitments. What is the leverage you need in order to move your prospect off the fence? How can you apply the force necessary to move the heavy object (your dream client) at the other end of the lever?

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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go