Marketing Matters

Selling the Quick Payback

One of the tricks of closing the sale, especially when selling to CFOs and other financial executives, is demonstrating return on investment. Prospects want to know that if they spend $1, they will get back $2.

Copywriter Mike Pavlish puts it this way: “You must convince the prospect that the price you ask is a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits the buyer will receive.”

Here are some ways to make this argument convincingly:

  • State the price over time instead of a lump sum. Instead of saying a year’s subscription costs $197, tell the prospect it’s just 55 cents a day. Instead of saying the cost for a 20-user software product is $500, say the license fee is just $25 per user. 
  • Multiply the cost benefit. If a manager’s time is worth $60 an hour, and your time-management system saves him or her an hour a day, that’s a savings of $300 a week. Better: If that employee uses the system all year long, that’s a savings of $15,000. Even better: If you have 100 employees in your department, this system can add $1.5 million annually to your bottom line. 
  • Make a comparison. An ad for a course on public speaking tells the reader, “A speechwriter would charge you $5,000 for just one speech. For a fraction of that cost, our course helps you all year long.” The two items actually are not equivalent, but the value comparison is relevant. 
  • Stress your lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Your purchase price may be a bit more, but if your product consumes less energy, is more reliable, and requires less service, owning it over the long run may actually cost less than owning the product with the cheaper up-front price. Do the math and demonstrate your lower TCO to the buyer. 

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