Posted by Mike Scher

Apr 6, 2015 11:02:00 AM

Everybody sells something.   And everyone that sells something thinks their stuff is the best out there…..and that is a good thing.   shutterstock_148942196If you don’t believe in the product or service that you market or sell, then go find something else to do.

You should be excited about the value your solution provides.  

As the provider of prospecting software and services to help sales people get more first appointments with the right people; we get to interface with hundreds of companies and thousands of sales professionals.  We have the honor and opportunity to see some really cool products and sometimes not so cool.

Every product provides ROI.  If you are selling application development tools, the ROI is measured in time to market, reduction in test time etc.   Supply chain management systems provide ROI around inventory carry costs. Health Information Management reduces administrative and compliance costs, Social media solutions are measured in sales and conversation share. 

So if all these solutions provide such great ROI, why are they so difficult to sell? How come people don’t just line up and buy them?

Being intentionally hyperbolic, leading with ROI is stupid! Why?, because people don’t buy based on ROI.   Think about it, we (you and me) don’t buy based on ROI.  If that were the case, we’d all have new windows and solar panels in our house because the energy savings (ROI) pays for itself.  We’d all be driving electric cars because the incentives and money saved on gasoline is a tremendous return.  We’d all be on a $35 per month off brand cell phone plan from Walmart or Metro PCS because the ROI is off the charts.

If people bought on ROI, I would be the richest man on the planet earth.  Our Staccato solution routinely increases the number of first appointments sales people get with the right person by 200% and more.  The ROI is literally measured in hours and days and the return is so large it is hard for people to believe, even though it is true and verifiable.

This doesn’t mean ROI isn’t important, it is.  People don’t buy on ROI, they buy on emotion……and justify it with ROI.

How many people do you know who just bought a new car and they feel compelled to justify their purchase because “it gets good gas mileage” or “it really holds its resale value”?

What’s wrong with saying “I bought the car because I wanted it?”

The fact is we aren’t wired that way.  We are emotional creatures and don’t want to admit it.  When it comes to making buying decisions we don’t want to give the impression we are out of control.   We want others to think we used a logical thought process.

Your B2B buyers are no different.  They latch on to certain solutions for many reasons.   Some believe it is better for the company. Some look at certain solutions as resume enhancers.  

The reality is any sort of complex B2B sales always starts out logical and rational and ends emotional and political.  Buyers become emotionally attached to one solution or another.   Many times different buyers become emotionally attached to different solutions.   In these cases, the buyer with the greatest political skill usually wins out. Sure their justification makes logical sense, but almost always, that politically savvy buyer first bought in emotionally.

This is why leading with ROI isn’t the best sales tactic.  If you are going to be successful in a B2B sale, you need to find that person who wants you to win the deal.  They tell you they want you to win the deal. They have the political clout to help you win the deal and (most importantly) they share your vision for how to address a need or solve a problem. 

That last point means the buyer has to emotionally believe they will be better off with your solution than without. Once they are emotionally bought in, that’s when you (and they) trot out all the ROI.  

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