Sales Management Digest

How to Double Your Influence with Customers and Win the Deal
Heather Baldwin
If you can show how your solution can impact the customer's bottom line, you'll win the sale. Right? Maybe not, says Rick Page, author of Make Winning a Habit.

It's actually not enough to show the customers the ROI on their investment, says Page. You must link that ROI to a compelling value. In other words, it's not enough that your prospect will save $5 million a year. What can he do with that $5 million that's going to sway him emotionally to buy your product?

One of Page's clients learned this lesson the hard way. He was selling a new point-of-sale system to Wal-Mart and determined that Wal-Mart could save $2 million a year, or $250,000 per store per year, in its eight-store pilot. Sound compelling? Unfortunately, the salesperson didn't link that savings to any strategic opportunity for Wal-Mart. And since $250,000 per store is pennies for a company that makes $3 billion a year, the initiative died after two years. "In a down economy, return on investment alone will not compel an opportunity to close," warns Page.

Link that ROI to an emotional, business, or personal benefit, however, and your chances of swaying a decision maker rise dramatically.

Consider the example of the SAP rep selling manufacturing/order-processing software to the Hershey Company, says Page. Before the rep presented to the executive committee, he ran through the presentation with his internal coach, who offered a key observation. Hershey, she told the rep, is all about children. At that time, the company was donating millions of dollars every year to the Hershey Foundation, which funds an orphanage and area schools. Before major decisions are made for the business, the company asks itself: Will it benefit the children?

With that in mind, the sales rep added a slide to his presentation that figured how much his solution could save the company in inventory costs, how much this savings would add to their bottom line, and how many additional millions of dollars the Hershey Company could donate to the Hershey Foundation over the next five years as a result. Though both the SAP rep and his competition proved they would save the company money, the SAP rep won the deal because he linked that savings to the benefit it would provide the Hershey Foundation.

You no doubt understand the importance of emotion in a buyer's decision making. By linking the logical numbers of ROI with a compelling benefit, you double the power of those numbers by tapping into the emotional side of the prospect's brain. So next time you figure out how much prospects will save each year by using your solution, don't stop there: Show them what they can do with that savings.
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