If you want to win a new client, you must understand a simple, little word that actually has complex meaning: “value.”

Value lives in the prospect’s head, not yours.

Each person defines what is valuable to him or her. Nobody else can do that. Not a family member, not a spouse, not a colleague and certainly not a sales professional. Value is what a person cares about. It’s the combination of the dreams they fantasize about, the philosophies they hold dear, the emotion that always affects them, the pain they’re trying to eliminate and the goal they need help accomplishing.

Our job is to figure out exactly what the prospect values without making assumptions or ascribing our biases and preferences.

Once you know what a prospect truly values, it’s much easier to complete a sale. You simply show how your offering matches that value.

When we are prospecting – trying to make connections with decision makers who don’t yet know us – we research the prospect and then make an educated guess as to what he or she values. When you have an actual meeting or conversation with a prospect, you can ask specific questions that uncover exactly what the client values.

At the prospecting stage, we use “estimated” value to craft messages that will hopefully catch prospects’ attention and compel them to meet with us. When we’re in a live meeting with a prospect, we ask him or her probing questions that uncover exactly what the prospect really does value.

But how do you know what value-laden messages to write while prospecting, and how you do know what value-discovering questions to ask during a first meeting? Well, I have a good place for you to start: a list of buyers’ key concerns.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a business decision or something else. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a Business-to-business or a B2C transaction, all buyers care about these eight things:

1. Does the product or service make me money?
2. Does it save me money?
3. Does it save me time?
4. Does it reduce my stress?
5. Is it easy to use?
6. Does it provide security?
7. Does it boost my ego?
8. Is it enjoyable or does it make me feel good?

Effective sales professionals always have these eight buyer concerns in mind. And while you’re at it, always be on the lookout for emotion.

If you use value as a sales tool, you’ll be even more effective if you unlock the power of emotion.

Don’t ever believe that clients make business purchases based on logic and reason alone. Emotion is always present and always plays a part. You can develop all the spreadsheets and proformas you want, but ultimately, people are motivated to make decisions because of something that is emotionally important to them.

When you know your prospects deeply – understand their emotional drivers and the things the value – it’s easier to be a persuasive sales rep who could seemingly “sell sawdust to a sawmill” or “charm wallpaper off the wall.”