Building A Logical Argument For Buying Your Solution
How do you build a logical argument for the purchase of your product or solution? One that can beat the competition, secure the budget and win the deal? As we will examine in this insight the formula is clear.
What does a logical argument for the decision to spend money on your solution look like? Well, in most cases is very different to five, or more years ago.
Solution Selling Is Out
The emphasis on your features and benefits as part of the rationale for buying has changed. Indeed, in terms of a logical argument to spend money features and benefits matter less than ever.
Selling features and benefits is ‘so pre financial crisis’. The problem is that it pre-dates:
– the pressure to cut costs and justify spending
– procedures and purchases around buying
– the requirement for internal sanction/approvals
– the business imperative to improve results
– the increased involvement of procurement and finance in buying decisions.
All of these now well-established trends put pressure on buyers to justify their decisions based, not on features, but on business results – impact.
Today’s important buying decisions are subject discipline and scrutiny. It is clear that features and benefits will not swing the big sale. That forces the seller to address issues of business economics, risk and strategy, if the purchase is to be sanctioned.
Business Case Selling Is In
One of the key trends in respect of organizational buying is the movement towards the application of business logic to buying decisions.
Even relatively small purchases today (e.g. a 5,000 euro/dollar piece of office machinery) requires some element of business justification if they are to be approved. Whether it involves a one page expenditure justification document, or 20 pages, decisions to spend money must increasingly be justified by the manager involved.
The functional or technical justification is not enough, nor perhaps the alignment of needs with a solution. Too many buying decisions stall, not because a need does not exist, or the buyer cannot chose the right solution/supplier, but because the budget or approval cannot be secured.
The main reason deals stall is because the business rationale or justification for the purchase is not sufficiently clear or compelling.
The implication is that if you want to sell your solution you have to help the buyer to justify the decision on business grounds. That goes beyond features and benefits, matching them to the buyer’s needs is almost assumed (and there are probably a number of alternative suppliers who can do the same).
What is really required is to build a compelling business rationale for the decision. That is the means of connecting your solution with what the business, department, project or function wants to achieve.
Buying Logic As A Lever For The Sale
The formula for building a logical argument for the decision takes the tried and tested format of the business case:
(Benefits – Costs) x Risk x Strategic Fit x Compliance x Politics
These are the most powerful levers in the sale. The only problem is that they are rarely found as headings in seller’s proposals.
For the seller, when the above is addressed in pitches, proposals and most important of all conversations with the buyer, the more:
– The message appeals to C-suite (i.e. senior executives)
– The proposition resonates with the buyer’s strategy
– Likely you will be seen as a strategic supplier
– Competitive advantage you have over your competitors
– Success you will have in moving the conversation off price and onto value.
More fundamentally building the logic, or rationale behind the buying decision, reduces the risk of a stalled deal. That is because it is at the core of helping the buyer to buy. That means:
– Helping the buyer secure budget, justify the decision
– Minimizing the risk of a stalled decision
– Fending off competing projects and purchases
– Insulating the decision from changes happening elsewhere in the organization
– Making the buyer look good
– Enabling results achieved to be tracked against those forecast/targeted.
A key requirement of winning the sale is to help the buyer to justify their decision to select your company and its solution. For those customers who decide on instinct and emotion, the seller has a vital role in providing the supporting rationale for the decision. Again that requires a form of business case analysis or justification.
John O' Gorman is a Business to Business sales coach, Director of The ASG Group and co-author of the ground-breaking book, The B2B Sales Revolution. John works with sales teams and sales managers across Europe to accelerate sales using the sales performance solution; SellerNAV.
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