Don’t Be Afraid to Help Clients Reach Financial Justification

Most sellers know the technique behind a conversation that will gather the needs required to make a strong solution recommendation. But, to be a true consultant to your clients and stop the competition in their tracks, the conversation must evolve into much more. It must build a business case for investing in your recommendation and providing the client with a strong feeling of confidence in the return on investment (ROI) your solution will bring.

Most clients struggle with getting to the “real value” of a recommendation. While they will quite possibly move forward with your recommendation, they tend to accept it at face value and stop short of understanding its ROI to their business’ bottom line. This results in a lack of financial justification in their own minds as they evaluate your recommendation.

Clearly, this lack of financial justification can hurt your chances of closing the sale – especially in today’s market.

Without a strong business case, your client may choose to evaluate competitive bids, do it himself, or do nothing at all. Your opportunity can easily evaporate into thin air.

Unfortunately, many of us are fearful of delving too deeply into our client’s business, either because the client may refuse to answer our questions, or he might become belligerent about why we’re asking for detailed, personal business information.

In reality, it’s our job to know – and help our client to understand – that asking detailed questions will help us both get to the root of the business problem. Failure to do so may result in a recommendation that the client won’t be able to justify financially, and have a negative effect on their confidence in us.

Pete, one seller I was working with, was trying hard to close a medical office on a solution that would allow the doctors to off-load their computer system responsibilities to his firm. No more unexpected computer system outages or interruptions to patient care. While the doctors recognized that they had a problem they needed to address, they weren’t looking at the full impact unexpected downtime was having on their practice. Consequently they couldn’t justify the added monthly expense of Pete’s solution.

The doctors were focused on their bottom line expenses, without seeing the hit they were taking to their top line revenue.

Pete had to build a business case by helping the doctors expand their thinking. Together, Pete and the doctors considered all aspects of the impact to their business from their unexpected computer downtime. The doctors discovered that they were experiencing a multitude of issues every time their system was inaccessible: patients couldn’t schedule appointments; same-day appointments dipped and revenue dropped; insurance billings were missed, and more.

Pete helped the doctors discover they were losing far more money than the solution he was recommending would cost, and the doctors immediately signed up.

How can you build a business case for your clients? Ask questions that will help them consider their issue from multiple perspectives. Delve into the financial ramifications of the problem on their business. Clients will answer your questions because they want to solve the problem.

In his discussions, Pete uncovered a wealth of information to build a business case the doctors agreed with:

The daily rate of the receptionists to determine their productivity losses

The value of an average appointment that went unscheduled

The number of appointments the doctors were missing

Pete helped the doctors understand why they should be willing to pay money to solve the problem, and what their ROI will be by removing the problem that was negatively impacting their practice.

As we question and help our clients better understand the situation being caused by their business issues, their respect for us will rise and our ability to make more informed and complete recommendations will increase. Clients will look to us to build their business cases and stop seeking competitive comparison bids. And isn’t that every sellers dream?