Welcome to the new world of sales. Now more than ever, your customers expect major bang for their buck. They want to know up front whether their investments will pay for themselves in terms of increased revenue, profits, employee loyalty, or customer loyalty. And they won’t just take your word for it. You have to prove it—not by talking about benefits or features, but by justifying ROI.
Salespeople who are closing deals are the ones who prove the business impact of their solutions. They don’t wait for their customers to ask about ROI. They translate expected business results into ROI at the beginning of their sales cycles.
The Typical Scenario
You conduct a great meeting with a business prospect, engage in smart conversation, and exchange ideas. The customer gives you every buying signal you ever learned, and you leave feeling confident that it’s a done deal. You write the proposal, review with your team, include detailed pricing and timelines, and send the proposal to the client with a well-crafted email. Then, instead of the quick response you expected, you get radio silence.
What happened? It could be many things, but the first thing to consider is whether you have demonstrated ROI. Did you engage the client in the ROI discussion and get agreement on ways to measure your deliverables? Bottom line: Did you make the business case for choosing you?
Avoid the Typical-Scenario Trap
Before you leave that first sales meeting, clarify and get agreement with your client on the criteria for a successful project. Ensure that you can justify your ROI.
For example, if you sell software, a client may say his company will have justified their expenditure if they can increase productivity by at least 20 percent. That sounds nice, but how will your client know this is the case? Keep questioning until you both agree on metrics for business impact and ROI. Then gather your team, and put the processes and products in place to ensure success.
Keep Talking ROI
Your ROI discussion should continue during both the sales and implementation processes. How are you measuring progress? What are the results the client is beginning to collect?
Don’t stop because you hand off the project to your account-management team. The client is yours. Continually manage and monitor their expectations, and prove their investment was worth it. This is the only way to ensure they’ll continue giving you business—and providing referral introductions to other Ideal Clients.
How and when in your sales process are you communicating ROI to your clients? How are you training your sales team to have the ROI discussion right out of the gate?