Winning the Value case – every question “counts”

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Every question counts

Value for customers’ needs to be covered in your proposals – and certainly covered in the customer’s internal proposals for any kind of spending action. And value can be discovered and described in many ways.  Getting funding to purchase your offer could be based on a solid ROI, an impact statement, or just a question of having budget or no budget.

On TV the Sesame Street characters have entertained generations of kids. One character, “the Count” was always, well, counting… and all business cases start by counting something. He could have been a great B2B sales person!

So, how is this relevant? It starts by knowing that great proposals are built on a solid statement of business needs (Pain points), and a compelling outline of business outcomes, and value your offer can deliver (Payback). Surprisingly, many sales people stop when a customer says they have a budget.

As an example, in talking with Salesman Barry, he mentioned that his prospect needed a new communication system for the engineering team. This led to an interesting conversation – in summary:   How many engineers?  (Don’t know). Who do they work with? (…Production)  How many producers? (hmmm…don’t know)….Who depends on their work? (…Production).  What about Mktg? …. doesn’t product quality affect the reputation of the company, and brand-building success. Also, what about Sales? … Can’t we help them avoid lost time with customer complaints about products or service. How many sales people are there? Could the time we save them improve their sales performance for the coming year? By how much?

And it goes on …(the Count would love this!) We started into a Production need, and ended up getting metrics of how big each group is that has any dependency on Production….. How many people in Mktg ?  How many in Sales?

Whoa, let’s go even deeper – did you say they operate in different cities and countries? How many? Where?  Let’s get those facts and numbers for all of Engineering, Production, Marketing and Sales.

And, is there any seasonality to the work? Does it rise and fall during a typical year? Any projects with planned completion dates?

Say, this is getting good – our notepad now has enough factoids to build a compelling story of the breadth and depth and impact of our project – so ask questions that count things, and move laterally across every company resource that will be touched directly or indirectly by what you offer.  You’ll find yourself getting much better at asking questions that “count”!

Then you can make a compelling front-end summary of the needs, potential benefits, and potential scope of the benefits of your offer. In addition, your value proposition will be unique to that particular buyer, hence much more motivating that a brochure on business case.

And – as a great questioning example – Grant Cardone has a 16 minute video of a 2 real time sales calls….and in one of them asked “Has your company ever spent $40,000 before?” This lead directly to some metrics of a related much larger spending program, advertising – an area that would directly benefit from Grant’s proposal.  Send me a note and I’ll send you the link to Grant’s energetic video.

image credit: Dreckman Digital (flickr)

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