Business consequences RISK

Understanding the business consequences allows you to move the conversation from features to benefits.

There is an age-old example in sales that says nobody ever buys a drill, they buy holes. In B2B selling, you are always being measured in terms of the business impact your solution will bring. You need to either fix something or make something better and have a positive impact on the business or the sale simply will not happen.

Unless you shift the conversation from features to the business benefits you are simply relying on the customer to make that connection for you. Sometimes they will, but more often than not, they won’t and you end up simply having a conversation rather than a sales engagement.

Purchasing a new solution always involves risk. Purchasing a new solution or new product involves change and this is where the risk comes in. If there is sufficient business benefit, then it’s worth the risk to make that change and it’s your job to make the connection for the prospect between the capabilities (features) of your product and the benefits of your solution and how they can then exploit those benefits to their advantage and see real tangible business consequences.

Amplifying Factors Priority, Metrics, Pain/Need

RED – Business Consequences Unknown

You may have understood the need but unless you understand the business consequences of that stated need you have a weak proposition and the prospect is probably relying on their gut instinct that you can bring value. Gut instinct usually doesn’t survive conversation with others in the organization and as a consequence rarely results in business.

AMBER – Business Consequences Indicated

Your prospect may have some sense that your solution can benefit them. Maybe they’re aware of somebody else achieving results with your solution or have a gut feeling that you can help them. Unless you can make this more tangible the deal will remain at risk throughout.

GREEN –  Business Consequences Confirmed

As business consequences are confirmed linking your product to their needs and onwards into the business consequence of adopting or rejecting your solution. This is a good platform to build on during the rest of the sales process.

Mitigations – What to Do?

You need to combine business benefits, with the needs/pain, the metrics and priority to really get a feel and confirmation that this is an opportunity worth pursuing. The more you understand about the problem and it’s consequences the stronger you are to go forward and win the business.

A question you always need to ask from the beginning – once you’ve established the business consequences ask if the problem is a big enough problem to do anything about. Explore the real knock-on effect not purchasing a solution will have on the business.

You need to try to ascertain the effect and impact on the people as well, of not adopting your solution. There may be great business benefits to the company. But how will it affect the lives of the individuals you are dealing with? If you can achieve both you’re in a very strong position to develop a strong desire for your solution, both at the company on a personal level.

Bear in mind that whether formally or informally, the prospect will do a return on investment analysis. So yes, you may have a problem big enough to solve and clear consequences if they don’t adopt your solution but you need to do some assessment at that point of the return they can expect to get.

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