Needs Assessment vs Needs Analysis

One of the most common conversations I have with professions is regarding when should they begin to get paid for what they do as compared to what should be considered part of the sales process.

I usually begin my response by showing this video.

Great stuff!

I think the answer to the question of when should I start getting paid is another question, “When do you begin to provide value?” Let me give a very specific example.

Many professionals will provide a free needs analysis. OK, fair enough, but what if the prospective customer has not developed a complete list of needs. Should the professional give away an engagement in which they help a customer develop such a list? Isn’t that providing value? I believe it is.

So here is my new answer to this imponderable question: When you are confronted with a prospect who thinks that the needs analysis should be free (i.e., part of the sales process), I would say, “Fine, the analysis of your needs will be free, however, we charge a fee of $X to develop a needs assessment.”

Thoughts?

There is no such thing as losing to “No Decision”

While teaching Sage Consulting Academy last week, I had what my mentor would call a BFO – blinding flash of the obvious – a sale is never really lost to “No decision.”

artworks-000012084925-nwyyay-originalFirst, “No” is a decision and therefore, by definition is a …

Second, while a prospect may not select either you or a competitor, the prospect’s money is going to be spent on something. This could either be continuing to pay another third party to manually do what your system does, or they might simply be buying a new boat for themselves instead.

In either case the message to you (and your competitors for that matter) – You have done a lousy job communicating and convincing the customer that you and your potential solution create value for their organization.

Think about it, if you were the CEO of a small company and had the choice between a new ERP system and a boat, which would you choose? This is yet another reason why your value proposition must be a strong one.

The next time you think you have lost to “No decision",” I suggest you pause and reflect rather than just caulk it up to a confused potential buyer.

Listen to Let’s Get Real for Free

Hit tip to my friend and Sage partner Amjad Khan from AIM Insight.

Product DetailsAs many of you know, I have been a huge fan of Mahan Khalsa’s Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play for almost a decade now.

Thanks to what must be a system glitch, you can buy the audio book of Let’s Get Real for $14 or listen to the exact same thing as a podcast for free. Great find!

For those interested the podcasts are available on iTunes by going to Podcasts>Business>Management & Marketing>FranklinCovey SPG. Additional podcast not available on iTunes can be found here on FranklinCovey’s site.

This is both the best sales book about consulting and the best consulting book about sales.

ENJOY!

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST!

Thinking Differently

At a recent conference one of the speakers presented the following syllogism:

  • What drives a company –> sales
  • What drives sales –> marketing
  • What drives marketing –> data

The implication is clear, ultimately data drives a company. Unfortunately, this thinking is all too prevalent in the business world (perhaps, just the world, leave business out of it).

It is also wrong. Actually, it is not just wrong, it is confusing cause with effect. Data is not the cause of company activity, it is the effect of it.

Instead, I would like to posit the following syllogism:

  • What drives a company –> profit
  • What drives profit –> creating value for customers
  • What drives value for customers –> innovation
  • What drives innovation –> knowledge
  • What drives knowledge –> relationships (conversations)

In my chain it is relationships that ultimately drive a company.

Thoughts?

Super Sunday Sales Session at Summit

(A lot of alliteration, huh.)

My friend and colleague, Rob Johnson, will be speaking on what we at Sage have deemed Super Sunday. His topic is 5 Steps to Radical Business Growth. Here is the abstract:

Creating an environment of sustained superior growth within a business isn’t easy. In fact, it is hard. The result of that hard reality is that most businesses fail to achieve the business growth and success they desire. If you’re not reaching your full potential; either as a salesperson or a business owner—and you want to achieve greater success—plan on attending this dynamic session. To change the arc of your business’s potential, and achieve the results you desire, you need to follow a few simple plan—a 5 step plan. Attendees will receive an autographed copy of Rob’s book, a serious success plan, and the skills and tools needed to a make 2011 the most successful year ever.

 

imageRob is a 14 year veteran of Sage. Currently, he serves as head of our channel programs and readiness. Many of you know him from the Sage Sales Academy, an award winning training program that has helped thousands of salespeople change the trajectory of their careers.

Last year, Rob authored and released the book Kick Your Own Ass; The Will, Skill & Drill of Selling More Than You Ever Thought Possible.

If you have any thoughts or questions for Rob about his session, feel free to email him at rob.johnson@sage.com.