Customers are always in search of a better solution, method, process or price. Most always they feel they know what’s available be it technology, technique or testimony. So to find better they need to find something different – what they did not know about before.

When we look for stuff to buy we search for better, faster, cheaper, smoother, stronger.

When we find something new or unique and it piques our interest it MAY give us a moment of epiphany when we realize that this one can do something for us.

Usually that’s a surprise discovery. And, though unexpected it is instantly appreciated. If we see right away it will do something for us – think benefit – we do an immediate ROI calculation in our head.

Now just because it’s different and smart and creative and really neat – does not mean it has something for us, right now and right here. Quite often there’s no ROI.

Here’s the misunderstanding held by SO many sales organizations.

We can never be sure what that customer’s ROI might be – right here or right now. Situationally we can lower the odds and make a pretty close guess.

We usually know what will produce the WOW moment – that’s our uniqueness – our stuff. But we don’t know what resonates with or is important to this particular customer inside this particular company inside this particular industry.

Companies consistently make the boneheaded mistake of guessing what return their potential customers will seek – and like darts thrown on a blank board, they hope we’ll hit the customer’s target.

So they lead with the ROI as if it’s the hook. They lead with how much money, time, effort or resource the customer will save. They lead with the customer’s ROI. Then they attempt to tell the customer how their WOW fits perfectly. WRONG!

Companies must stop that and just deliver the WOW. Let the customer identify the ROI – their ROI. And if there’s no ROI it’s a NO. Move on.

Of course if there’s no WOW revelation or awareness, it’s also a NO. Move on folks, nothing here to sell.

If I’m convincing and you think this only works in the commercial sector, try this on for size.

We all shop for something special, new, fancier, better, cooler or better. We look for features of the product hopes of being WOWed. We yearn for a WOW moment. Then – and only then – do we perform the mental calculation as to whether it will be a winner for us. We do an ROI.

What’s the classic proposed ROI that we all hear every day?

Yes it’s, “We will save you money.” BORING. Heard that countless times. Blah, Blah, Blah. We gotta do better than that.

Instead how about the product pitch that catches our eye and piques our interest? The one that looks pretty neat. It’s different and we look closer. IF the evidence is compelling and we accept the claim, WE figure out if it will work for US. Here’s where the ROI comes in and granted it might not pass muster for a sale.

If the product is very cool, very useful and very appealing and produced a big WOW moment of discovery, we’ll even stretch ROI to justify what we think is very good so we can say yes to the purchase.

The same works with B2B. Sure we should go in prepared to dialogue the calculations of a variety of ROI scenarios. But we’d best NOT lead with the ROI. Give them a solid WOW and let them reveal their ROI.

Let me know if this works.