Note: this guest post is part one of a three part series by Jack Nuanes of Selling at the C-Level. Have a guest post you'd like to submit? Let us know!

In part one, we discussed that salespeople are under-qualified to sell in this new economy due in many cases to their lack of financial sales training. In part two, we covered the responsibility of key decision makers in all organizations to study and know what financial numbers are negatively impacting their firm. We also talked about their fiduciary responsibility to examine products/services that can change these trends.

In addition, according to ASTD's recent research report, Accelerating Revenue Through Learning, Developing Sales Teams that Win, "success in this economy is based on the ability to shift selling strategy." Furthermore the report states, "For many selling positions, salespeople need more business and financial acumen than they have."

So hopefully we have painted a pretty clear picture that a) salespeople need to well versed in financial performance sales skills to compete in this economy and, b) customers will buy from them if they do. To be absolutely clear, if salespeople use financial performance selling skills they will stand alone from the competition, close more deals and make more money. Plain and simple. Period.

How to Edge the Competition by Leveraging Your Prospects Financial Numbers

Let me illustrate this point through a scenario that many sales people face each day. A salesperson is competing for the business against three different firms. Each of the competitors uses similar 'traditional' sales techniques that focus on forming relationships and strategic/consultative approaches. Each also stresses their features and benefits and has similar pricing options. If you were the client who would you choose? If you were one of the salespeople in this scenario how would you differentiate yourself from the competition? The answer of course is in understanding the financial numbers.

It is a fact that every purchase decision is a financial decision. If this is true, then why do sales executives continue to only focus on non-financial sales techniques to close deals? Wouldn't it make sense that, in order to separate yourself from the competition as a sales executive, you would simply have to understand the numbers and how your solution improves those numbers to state your case?

How did it end?

In my personal scenario, highlighted in blogs part 1 and 2, I ended up closing the deal with the customer by showing her that I recognized five key financial metrics that our services could impact. She responded by telling me the one financial metric in particular that was bothering her the most. As a financially trained sales executive I knew instantly that this metric, Cost of Sales as a % of Sales, was rising due to discounting. Equally important, I recognized that the other four financial metrics were also troubling and understood why they were going in their respective directions.

As you can see, by evaluating the company's financial numbers I had placed myself in the CFO's office and had the potential to have five different meaningful conversations with a key decision maker of a billion dollar company. Most importantly, as a prerequisite, I did not have to engage in a long term rapport building process with the CFO in order to schedule the first meeting, show up and whip out a 50 slide PowerPoint slide presentation or ask embarrassing pain or needs pay off questions. I simply studied my client's numbers and within an hour had a game plan that worked and ultimately secured me the seven-figure deal.

The Selling at the C-Level team has been training companies around the world since 1996. Our specialty is to train sales executives to sell effectively to the senior decision-makers of an organization by using the financial data of the prospect. For more information call 303-516-0000 or www.sellatclevel.com