Sometimes the way you talk about a customer’s problem can make all the difference. In our experience, there are lots of ways to encourage prospects to think about their business problems with renewed urgency. The next time you want to light a fire under your prospect, try one of the following conversational approaches.
Tip #1: Highlight the “cost-to-delay.”
The cost-to-delay is how much your prospect is losing per month (or week or year) by not investing in your solution. It’s an easy number to calculate (simply divide the value your solution delivers per year by 12) and can make a huge impact during a sales conversation. The minute you say, “Not doing anything about this problem that our solution solves is costing you $25,000 a month,” the prospect typically starts to think about the situation with new urgency.
Tip #2: Show the payback period.
Calculating the project’s payback period (the amount of time usually expressed in months before the incoming cash flows from the project exceed the project’s costs) can lower your buyer’s perception of risk. Many buyers often ascribe a shorter payback period with the thought that less can go wrong in the short term. You can use this to your advantage by telling your prospects, for example, “If we start now, you’ll already be ahead three months from now.”
Tip #3: Focus on where you have the biggest impact.
Sometimes you can have more influence with prospects if you focus on only the biggest value drivers in your conversations.
This came to light with one of our clients, Nuance, which offers scanning and printing solutions. One thing we discovered was that the biggest value driver for them is labor savings -- using Nuance solutions, companies no longer have to spend as much money on having employees deal with managing paper documents. Nuance was aware that this was one of their value points, but they were weighting this equally with other value points (for example, the savings in paper and print cartridges) in their messaging. By focusing the conversation to pinpoint labor savings (which is a much larger savings in their case), they help prospects understand their solution’s value right away. You can learn more about the Nuance story here.
When deals stall it’s often because the buyer lacks the financial justification for your solution. Using the three tips above can get you back on track to drive urgency and quickly close the deal by proving the buyer with business case necessary to obtain internal budget approval. The next time you face a deal that is seemingly going nowhere try out this approach and let me know your results.