The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Save time; save money…

In 1979, during my very first, B2B sales training class (led by Frank Justo at ADP), we worked on feature-benefit drills.  Ever do that?  And anytime we came across a feature we couldn’t immediately connect a benefit to, we were taught to use that famous, catch-all-justification phrase:  “Save Time; save Money!” 

Over three decades later, I’m amazed at how often I hear this catch-all-justification phrase used.  Maybe you say it yourself.  Oh and there’s also the popular derivation that goes like this:  “With our automated, online, interruption, foot peddle, your people currently assigned to this task can do more important things for the company…”  More important things?  Like what – being laid off?  But I digress. 

Much has been said and much has been written on how sales professionals can “cost justify” the sale of our products and services.  “Value Proposition”; “ROI”; “TCO”, “Time to Value”; “Payback”; “Doing more important things”; what is your favorite term and justification technique?  (“Save Time & Money” you say?  Just shoot me!) 

Of course, our companies can’t help from helping us by providing the infamous TCO/ROI calculator.  Amazing little tools these calculators.  It seems that no matter what numbers you plug in the end result is always the same – “Buy My Product!” 

Was the automation of the spreadsheet a bane to civilization?  I mean, have anthropologists uncovered evidence of abacus-based ROI calculators used to support trade in the ancient times?  Sorry – digressing again. 

After the sale, how often do you think clients go back to check the computation of the ROI they used to justify their purchase in the first place?  Here’s what George Eckes, a subject matter expert in Six Sigma (which according to Wikipedia, “A six sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of the products manufactured are statistically expected to be free of defects”) shared: 

About 30 percent of my clients have had a true Six Sigma cultural transformation; about 50 percent of my clients have obtained tactical results that justified their investment in paying my outrageous fees.  And about 20 percent of clients have totally wasted their money.           

Well, at least they went back to measure the results of his “outrageous fees”.  We would expect no less from six sigma black belts. 

Does every purchase have to be “justified”?  Here’s an excerpt from an interview published in the March 2012 issue of CFO Magazine

“CFOs need to understand that you have to keep the core running,” says NetSuite CFO Ron Gill.  “Sometimes the CIO will say the phone system needs upgrading.  The CFO will ask, ‘What will we get from the upgrade?’ The CIO says, ‘Phones.” 

Instead of “justification” what if we sold to “value”?  I believe value is client-defined, and it tends to be a bigger number than anything my little TCO calculator might come up with.  I also believe value connects to my client’s “discretionary funds”, which includes the original “budget” plus whatever it costs to get what they want.  

When the client values it and wants it; far be it for me to suggest we do a cost-justification first.  But don’t take my word for it: 

What’s my return on investment in e-commerce?  Are you crazy? This is Columbus in the New World.  What was his ROI?

Andrew Grove 

Truly – Queen Isabella received more value than Columbus’ three returning ships full of goods.  We might all consider selling to our client’s value – after all, this approach could save us time & money! 


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.


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