Quantifying the pain your (potential) client is having

Are you a consultant, or maybe you have a SAAS product. You are really good at what you do (programming/design), or your SAAS it the best and simplest in its niche. And somehow you don’t have more customers, or any. There may be hundreds of reasons for that, maybe your consulting services aren’t up to par with the competition, maybe your SAAS is to complex, or it isn’t pleasant to the eye. But what if all this is false, you do everything by the book, and still no
traffic?

In one of the last posts, How to sell a new technology to coworkers (and bosses, by proxy) I wrote about selling new technologies to your coworkers and bosses. And you should think about the bosses part here. As your clients and customers both handle a certain amount of money, you want from them. Be it a one off fee, or a monthly subscription. And in most cases, money is not the issue here (if your leads complain about your prices, think about getting better leads), but the financial and emotional investment a lead has in the old solution. And your job is  to learn to break them from it.

As we all know, it’s really hard to break from a software when you start using it properly. And this is basically what you are asking your lead to do, stop doing your old ways, and start using this new and revolutionary way that will change your life completely. That might sound true to you, and might even interest your lead, but what if they have 10, or 1000 users using the product you want to replace. How will you justify your new and groundbreaking technology while considering that you have to change the way a 1000 regular computer users do their job? Have you even considered the cost of switching from one software to another? You probably haven’t, and your leads have, probably consider it every time you contact them. You have to break from it right now.

Take your main competitor and study their software, or make an analysis of the system your lead wants to replace. The best thing would be, if you could watch people use the given thing for at least one day, spot the rough spots, the overly complicated procedures. Clicking 27 buttons and going through 10 different screens to accomplish one thing. Write all of it down, and turn it into something tangible, lost time.

Lost time is something we take for granted, time spent battling software that should work, but it doesn’t. I had the same issues with my business bank a while ago, but after I applied the following formula, the solution came into place. After you have written down the average daily lost time per user, multiply it by the number of users, and by 20, to get a ball park estimate of
hours lost in any given month. Multiply that with an average hourly rate for a worker in the field, and now you have your silver bullet. The amount of money they are losing with the old solution, compared to your solution. From that, you can easily form your price, and give your lead a fairly correct Return On Investment (ROI), which is the number a business person understands, and wants to hear from you, because they have to tell it to their boss.

About my bank issue, I calculated that I loose about one hour each month, with Java issues, and trying to log into the net banking interface. Multiplied that with 12, to get the yearly amount, then by my hourly rate, quantified my pain, and changed the bank. That simple, (after 4 months of agony, which started when I was out of town for a longer period, and had to pay some bills). It wasn’t easy, and wasn’t fun, but if I’m paying for a service, I want it delivered in a usable state. Your clients want the same thing. And unless they feel so much pain, they won’t do anything themselves, they might explore around, sign up for a trial, and never sign in again. This is where you apply your sales skills, call your leads (yes, by phone), and talk to them, find out their pain, help them to quantify it, help them to use your system, on board them properly, and someone else will have a hard time taking them away.

I wanted this post to be complementary to the last one, on selling technologies, but it took it’s own course while I wrote it. This happens, don’t be afraid of pouring your thoughts to paper/any other medium, and sharing them. Who knows what might come from it?

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