Selling is about conversations around what value is and compelling reasons to change. It is also about gaining commitments. Everything you do, including every client interaction, should also be about creating a preference for you and your solution.Business Preference

Here are some ideas:

  • Presence: One of the foundational strategies for creating a preference for you and your solution is having a presence with your prospective client. You have to spend time with your potential client, likely more time than you believe necessary. Even though many people and companies think sales is something that can and should be done at arm’s length, if you are playing to win, you show up.
  • Insights: You must know things that can help your prospective client generate better results than they are presently. This is business acumen and situational knowledge, understanding the principles of business and having the experience to know what works and why. Insights are one of the ways that you differentiate yourself, and sharing useful knowledge provides the “advisor” component of “trusted advisor.” Knowing why your prospect should change and how they should approach it creates a preference.
  • Caring: You have to make a purchase. Do you buy from the person you know is looking out for your best interests or the person who simply needs to make a sale? When someone is considering buying from you and your company, they are essentially adding you to their team. They want to add someone to their team who cares enough about them and the result they need to ensure that they execute and deliver.
  • Understands us: One of the challenges of arm’s length buying processes, like RFPs, is that they eliminate the ability for you to know your prospective clients. Your dream client wants to work with someone who understands them. They want to work with someone they believe gets who they are, what they want, why they want it. Your alignment with your prospect proves that you get them.
  • Collaborator: You create a bias for you and your solution by collaborating with your prospective clients and allowing them to help design the solution they need. By collaborating, you make your potential client an active participant in the sales process. This is an underestimated tool for creating a preference. You don’t have to pitch “your” solution. You can pitch “our” solution.
  • Deep: How many contacts do you have within your prospective client’s company? If you work with one department, how many contacts do you know and how well do you know them within that department? Deeper relationships create a deeper preference.
  • Wide: If you typically work with the team in one department of a company, how many people in departments you don’t work with but who are affected by any decision to choose you know who you are? The wider your support, the greater the preference.

This isn’t a complete list of actions you might take to create a preference. Things like “attention to detail,” “follow-up,” and “the experience of working with you” are all important.

What’s missing is your product, service, or solution. These are important, but only in service of helping your dream client better their results. In all things human, the soft stuff is the hard stuff, and the hard stuff is the soft stuff.

What do you need to do to create a preference? Comment to reply and send me your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Hit forward to send this to someone you believe could benefit from going us here every week. Ask them to join us here and send them to

Do good work this week, and I’ll see you back here next week!


Anthony Iannarino


P.S. Don’t miss this week’s In the Arena podcast with Matt Abrahams on strategic communication.


Contributor Anthony Lannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at and you can subscribe to his newsletter at