My colleague, Drew Wright, wrote a piece a couple of years ago invoking both the Gene Simmons novelty-rock band and a reminder that “Keep it Simple Stupid” doesn’t always apply (like when applying discount increments).
For me, when I think about keeping it simple, I remove the last S, because none of us are stupid and keeping it simple can frankly be hard. After all, simplicity can be is the ultimate sophistication.
I am sometimes guilty of going into the weeds, providing multiple payment options to customers and have found that it often leads to more questions than a resolution. Even worse, it can prolong the sales cycle, which is literally the opposite of what I hope to do.
Recently I’ve found myself taking a step back and consulting with sales reps to do the same. For example, last week a rep was going into a customer meeting and wanted to have ALL the financing options available to show his customer. He figured he had one shot and wanted to show the customer all the possible scenarios to keep his bases open–32 financing options in total! My advice to the rep was to present only four options and use that as a launching pad for further discussion. I coached the rep on some probing questions to ask that would provide insight into their available budget and preferred payment structure. By keeping the options simple the customer wasn’t overwhelmed and the rep was able to engage in a more meaningful conversation.
Once the rep had this conversation, he had a much better idea on how to craft a final proposal for the customers review. To make his proposal even more compelling I created an Executive Financial Summary which is a one page (simple!) cost comparison document that clearly highlighted the customer’s business as usual spend compared to the proposed deal structure. In this instance, the customer’s business as usual was their current license renewal cost over a five-year period. The rep’s proposal highlighted a significant long-term cost savings for the customer and the data was presented in a streamlined format that allowed the proposal to quickly move through the approval process with procurement and finance.
I really enjoy providing consultative financial selling guidance to sales reps (honestly!). Whether it’s how best to present a financial proposal (32 options not recommended) or a more in-depth summary to highlight the long term cost savings of a solution, I found keeping it simple and not overwhelming a customer with multiple options yields a more productive meeting and meaningful conversations.