The Deal Worth Millions: Uncovering the True Value of a Buyer's Problem
The art and science of sales is often likened to a high-stakes chess game. The salesperson, the skilled strategist, must always be several moves ahead. A crucial part of this strategy involves understanding and quantifying the buyer's problem. Through this, a triad of significant shifts occur:
1. The buyer can now financially justify the purchase.
2. They gain a deeper understanding of the issue at hand.
3. With a clearer perception of the risks, they are impelled to act more promptly.
This seems like a straightforward task, but how do we go about quantifying the buyer's problem? Here's a two-step guide that has proven successful in the corporate arena.
## Step 1: The Measure of Success
Imagine you're sitting across the table from your client as they share their business challenges. Your response? You ask, "What metric would most be improved as a result of solving this?" This question is strategic. Why? Most business metrics tie back to the company's bottom line:
- An increase in close rates translates to additional new business revenue.
- Faster time-to-market means a higher competitive win rate.
- A decrease in churn safeguards existing revenue.
- Reduced Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) improves net margins.
However, the response might not always be clear-cut, like when they want to "improve employee engagement". So, what's next?
## Step 2: Digging Deeper: The Metric Behind the Metric
At times, the first response might not directly relate to a financial metric. This could be an employee engagement rate, customer product adoption, or time-to-fill on engineering roles. This is when the seasoned salesperson must dig deeper and reveal the metric behind the initial metric, a number that will, in all likelihood, hold financial value.
**Example 1:** Struggling with employee engagement? That could hint at a high turnover rate, leading to a slower time-to-market and lost revenue opportunities.
**Example 2:** Facing low product adoption rates? By probing further into what's driving the urgency to improve, you might uncover a worrying churn rate of 23%. Now we're talking money.
**Example 3:** Delayed time-to-fill for engineering roles? This could lead to slower product development, dissatisfaction among clients, and ultimately, financial impact.
In essence, quantifying a buyer's problem boils down to three key steps:
1. Identify the business problem.
2. Ask what metric will see the most improvement when this problem is resolved.
3. Look for the "metric behind the metric" that directly impacts the financials.
By incorporating these steps into their approach, salespeople can transform a seemingly abstract problem into concrete financial terms, create a sense of urgency, and facilitate the buyer's decision-making process. It's akin to a well-played chess match, where the right moves lead to a checkmate: a win for the salesperson, and measurable value for the buyer.
- Sales Mastery