I’m just returning from the snowy North Woods in Michigan after spending ten days with 50 homeschooling fathers. What an amazing trip this was! While there I posted several articles on selling using return on investment and competitive advantage. Of course I scheduled these posts ahead knowing I would be without cell and and Internet coverage.
A natural third approach to selling is demonstrating operational efficiency; this one I consider to be profitable and a strong motivator for clients when considering new technology. The key here is in the second word Efficiency. When sales people talk about operational efficiency or the related topic of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), they often have no idea what they mean. They are parroting empty words created by marketing, without the vertical knowledge to actually help clients achieve this goal. So it sounds good, but in the end it’s just another sales pitch.
Instead, if you are going to head down this path, become an efficiency expert. I often recall in sales training classes the story of Cheaper by the Dozen. In the original movie, the father is known around the world for his time in motion studies. People are calling on him from across the ocean and willing to pay for his presence in England, which at that time meant traveling by boat to cross the Atlantic, with a month’s worth of travel expenses, just to present at an upcoming conference. The fees here are justified by great wisdom he brings to the manufacturing process. This kind of wisdom is worth paying for and is certain to put you ahead of your competition. Stop parroting another’s value proposition and gather some wisdom if you plan to sell TCO or operational improvements.
© 2011, David Stelzl