When the Value Proposition Gets Fuzzy

I was recently proposing a training class for a large manufacturer.  My main point of contact wanted the training and had money approved for it. However, they required a certain multiplier as a return on investment(ROI).  Is this an ROI sale?  No, it’s a competitive advantage sale – training is almost always a competitive advantage sale.  The request for numbers is purely red-tape in this case and is submitted using the client’s ROI model.  The same could be said for TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) requests.  If the client already wants what you provide, and has access to money, but requires internal financial analysis, don’t think of this as a financial sale.   As you might predict, using the client’s model, we made my numbers work.  Can I prove there will be a certain return on training?  No, I have no control over what sales people will do with the material I give them.  However, bureaucrats upstairs require the paper, so we worked out the math and submitted it.  My value proposition remains, competitive advantage.  The question will always be, “Will the sale people be able to sell more after going through my training?”  If they apply it, they will – and the price of training is easily recovered when that happens.

© 2011, David Stelzl


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