Show Me The Money!

“Show me the money, Jerry”

Show me the MoneyThose are the words from a classic movie scene in the film Jerry Maguire. It’s also a great phrase to keep in mind when selling to senior executives that will sign off on your deal.

Ray Iannarino told of an example of this recently.

Two software firms approached his company who was a vendor in the same space. Luckily for them it was a space where we were actively looking. Since they were interested in finding a solution in this space, a meeting was conducted with two firms.

The CEO was the decision maker and would not buy anything in this space unless there was a clear Return On Investment (ROI), he did not care how well the technology worked, how many platforms it work on or how great the user experience. What mattered was the “money.”

The only thing he wanted to hear was something like this: “This will cost you $y and you will make $y times 3 in revenue for that investment”. The “show me the money” statement.

The first firm started the web conference meeting with slides about their firm. Knowing his boss, my colleague, said, “You know this is great but I’m thinking about my CEO and how I have to sell any solution in this space to him. What I really need to see is the ROI on your solution”. But the salesperson seemed not to hear him, and carried on through her slides that showed the product.

This was a web meeting so Ray checked his email. When the seller finished her allotted time, Ray said, “I really need to see examples of the ROI your product has caused for companies like ours.” The salesperson said “Oh yes, I will get back to you on that.” She probably did not have that information to hand or her marketing department had not created such ROI examples for her. If marketing does not give you what you need to sell effectively, create it yourself. You will get paid back many times in your commission check for the time you spend creating these metrics.

The Second Meeting.
The second company started by presenting some case studies of their product. As they were about to launch into a demo, Ray said, “What I really need to see is the ROI on your solution. I’ll need that if I’m going to present this to my CEO.” They listened, and had that information available. The discussion moved directly a client case that described “they made $y by selling x units of their product based on our offering and each unit cost them $z to make. So you can see they made $p in profit.”

Then they discussed local assumptions to see how these figures would pan out in their case. Ray felt that his CEO would be interested. He sent him an email describing the information from the second meeting. The CEO’s response was, “Let me know if you would like to meet with them.” In other words, company #2 advanced the sale by “showing them the money.”

When you’re selling keep in mind that most decision makers (the ones that actually sign your contract and check) care about financials. They don’t care about features and functions. They often don’t even care about operational metrics (“this will let us service 14% more customers”). No, in the end if they are senior enough, what they care about are dollars.

Speak their language. Translate what your stuff does into dollars. In other words Show Them the Money”

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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