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The 5 Cases Buyers Must Make to Drive Change

The 5 Cases Salespeople Must Make to Drive Change and Win Sales

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

At their core, top-performing salespeople are change agents. They recommend, advise, and assist buyers (what is typically known as consultative selling), and they aren't afraid to push when it's in the best interest of their buyers. Indeed, top sellers are Insight Sellers.

These people make five cases to ensure the value proposition for each buyer is as strong as it can be. They inspire buyers with new ideas and perspectives, and influence how buyers tackle their priority initiatives. They question the status quo and don't let buyers accept it, thus redefining reality.

Specifically, Insight Sellers make a strong case for change in five key areas, influencing buyers to think a new way:

  1. Priorities: Do this, not that….
  2. Approaches: this way, not that...
  3. Return on Investment: because…
  4. Decisions: Act now, not later…
  5. Partners: with us, not them.

Following the five-case process will ensure the value proposition for each buyer is as strong as it can be.

1. Priorities

What, exactly, will the buyer do? What does the buyer need? What is most important? Effective Insight Sellers start here with the concept of "what."

Sellers should make sure they've done a situational analysis of the buyer so they understand the current state. Then, sellers should put themselves in the role of a consultant: you want to influence the way the buyer thinks to make sure the buyer chooses the right top-of-agenda priorities. The goal here is two-fold: discovering what's possible and knowing what's priority. 

Essentially, you're making sure the buyer knows that they should "Do this, not that."

2. Approaches

Once a buyer chooses the right priorities, they need to focus on the "how" so they can tackle these priorities the right way.

The seller should demonstrate their expertise and how they can bring new and different approaches to the table to solve the buyer's challenges. This is where sellers can really shine and differentiate themselves. When you do this, you literally become the value that buyers are purchasing and become vital to the buyer's success.

You're making sure buyers know they should act "...this way, not that."

3. Return on Investment

Return on investment isn't new, of course, but sellers remain particularly challenged by building and communicating the ROI case. Only 16% of buyers report that sellers are very effective at making the ROI case virtually.

Especially in a challenging economic environment, making the ROI case is vital to success. Sellers have to get buyers to believe deeply that the ROI is reasonably achievable. In that spirit, sellers need to focus on impact, as impact drives buyer urgency and action. Impact is emotional and rational, and it's the answer to why buyers should make the purchase.

In short, you need to make sure buyers believe in the most powerful reasons, or simply, that they can say they need this solution "...because."

4. Decisions

The fourth case, Decisions, is about getting buyers to decide they've heard enough and are ready to act now. It's the "when."

In any selling environment, this can be an uphill battle. But if you're selling during an economic downturn, it can be an even bigger challenge. That doesn't change the fact that, for a purchase to happen, buyers need to act. Sellers need to communicate the call to action clearly so buyers know what to do next and when. The more buyers believe in the path, the more confident they'll be about their decision, and the more likely they'll act with a sense of urgency.

In other words, sellers need to communicate that buyers should "Act now, not later."

5. Partners

The buyer has decided to act (do this) in a certain way (this way) with urgency (because) following a certain path (take action). Now they need to choose a partner to do it with them, also known as the "who."

This is where your relationship comes into play. Building relationships requires deliberate effort and foundation-laying, so the buyer feels you're someone they want to pay attention to, take advice from, and proceed with—over someone else.

Sellers help buyers come to the realization that they should do it "with us, not them."

Drive Change with the 5 Cases

These five cases are the keystone to a successful insight selling approach.

The 5 Cases The 4 W's (and 1 H) Phrases to Complete
Priorities The What  "Do this, not that."
Approaches The How "...this way, not that"
ROI The Why "...because"
Decisions The When "Act now, not later."
Partners The Who "With us, not them."

Selling is inherently about change. If you want to be successful in selling, you need to make the case for change to your buyers, so they are compelled to make a purchase.

That's a mindset at the heart of all five cases. You're putting forth a value proposition that's undeniable, and that'll influence the buyer to move forward and make a purchase. If you make a rock-solid case, you'll put yourself in a winning position time and again.

Last Updated August 8, 2023

Topics: Insight Selling Consultative Selling