Emotional ROI, Part 2: Selling the Pain of Change

 

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we introduced the idea of emotional ROI and discussed the emotional risks that are at stake in B2B buying situations. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll cover how to effectively sell the emotional ROI of your solution. To read Part 1, click here

Selling emotional ROI needs to be embedded in everything we do as salespeople.

The first step is to recognize that, just like consumers, B2B buyers make purchases for emotional reasons. Once we know that, every touch point needs to reinforce a buyer’s belief that the emotional ROI will be worth it—and by big margins.

Reinforcing this belief is a balancing act of mitigating emotional risk. Let’s start with offering a good product, the first step in effectively selling emotional ROI.

people-apple-iphone-writing-twitterDouble Down on the Pain of the Status Quo

All B2B sales should start with the pain point you’re solving, but you need to evaluate whether the prospect sees the pain as a mosquito bite or a shark bite. If it’s a mosquito bite, you need to work to build it into a shark bite pain.

For the prospect to purchase, they have to believe that the pain of the status quo is greater than the pain of change. The more you can help them feel the pain of the status quo, the bigger the push for emotional ROI.

Kickstart Emotional ROI with Good Design

We live in what I call the Age of Design. At CONSENSUS™, we believe in the philosophy that life is too short for bad software. Poor product design significantly reduces emotional ROI.

If you’re selling software, your clients may be spending several hours per day or week interacting with your software design. They may even spend more time with your software than with their spouse or friends. Knowing this, they must believe that they will enjoy using your solution or product more than their current solution, if they have one.

It’s not just about the outcome or about what the services themselves will do. It’s about the experience buyers have while they are using your product and while they are engaging with your services. It’s not good enough for your client to love everything about your software’s output if it looks like it’s going to be a pain to use.

Minimize Risks to Peer Reputation

A buyer wants to know how what you are selling will increase her reputation with her peers. We don’t recommend that you address this concern overtly, at least not in your first conversation. Marketing materials can be useful here, however. “Be the Hero…” or “You’ll be a rockstar …” are messages you’ll see from time to time, addressing this particular emotional risk.

One of the best ways to minimize risk to a buyer’s peer reputation is to provide social proof by way of great customer references. And don’t just provide general references. Provide peer-driven references that are relevant to each of the roles in the buying group. For example, if you’re selling a solution into marketing, but the CTO is concerned about security, give the CTO the names of a few other CTOs at client companies .

Hearing another CTO say that your software passed his company’s security review with flying colors will go a long way towards a new buyer believing that they will also have a successful implementation. If a CTO, CMO, and Head of Sales are in the buying group, provide them with peer references from customers who are in similar roles.

Enhance Upward Mobility

Understand your prospects’ immediate goals. What is she trying to achieve this month? Quarter? Year? If you can demonstrate that your solution gets her there faster or better, she’ll believe it will help her be more upwardly mobile in her career.

This is where the financial and/or productivity ROI becomes emotional. If prospects believe you can deliver the key business metrics that determine their performance, they will consciously (and subconsciously) associate your solution with upward mobility.

Make sure to get the buyer’s manager or boss involved, too. They are likely going to get involved behind the scenes either way, so proactively involving them up-front increases your chances of helping them buy into the purchasing decision. This ultimately reduces the upward mobility risk for your prospect.

Map Out the Implementation and Adoption Requirements for Each Role

To address potential concerns that implementing and adopting your new product or solution could put other projects at risk, we recommend forecasting the amount of time required of each member of the buying group in each phase of implementation.

Again, think of the roles of all of the stakeholders. How much time will the person in each role on the buying group—Head of Sales, CMO, CTO—need to contribute? Mapping out what is required for each role helps customers plan appropriately, reducing their emotional risk and increasing their emotional ROI. Providing data from past client engagements gives new buying groups even more confidence in your projected time investment.

This also helps prospects understand how much time they may have to sacrifice from family, friends, and hobbies to get the benefits they want from your solution.

Ask Compelling Questions About Emotional ROI

Asking compelling questions during the sales process will help you and the prospect know if your solution is truly going to work for them.

Sometimes, we as salespeople avoid asking tough questions because we are afraid of the answers we may receive. We don’t want to consider, for example, that this may not be the best time for the client to implement. But wouldn’t you rather get the deal done and implemented when it makes sense for the client instead of forcing them into an implementation too early and end up with an unhappy customer?

Here are some examples of questions you might consider asking to help a customer evaluate her own emotional ROI:

• Do you have other big projects already underway that could get in the way of implementing this solution?
• Who else needs to get in on this purchase to make sure everyone who needs to have a say, has one?
• This implementation and adoption is going to take 15 hours over the next two weeks. Will you be able to devote the time necessary to work with our team to get this going?
• What is top of mind for you next month and next quarter? Can you make this a priority?
• Now that you understand what it will take to get this solution implemented, what seems more challenging: living with your current solution, or the effort required to get a solution like this in place?

Again: these are tough questions. But it’s much better to ask them up-front than it is to discover after a client has purchased your solution that they simply don’t have the time or resources needed to implement it.

Emphasize Personal ROI

In the end, buying—both for consumers and in B2B situations—is always an emotional decision. The financials always play a secondary role. Yes, making a compelling financial case is required, but a prospect won’t even consider the business’ financials if they don’t first believe that the emotional ROI they’ll get from it personally is in their favor. Use the tips outlined here to persuade them that it is.