The temptation to sell on ROI is understandable. Upwards of 60% of sales end with a “no” decision because buyers don’t see enough value in making a change.

The status quota is a formidable obstacle. But, here’s the thing, selling on ROI actually hurts your chances of winning a deal by as much as 27%.  

Gong, Corporate Visions, and the RAIN Group have done research on this.

So, why does the ROI case lead to decreased sales performance?

Because too many sales people use the ROI case as another type of “pitch.”

It’s a one-way flow of information from seller to buyer, and buyers quickly tune out.

Rather than pitching an ROI case, focus instead on a mutual business case. Invite your buyer to build a business case that they co-develop and co-own with you.

To win in selling, we need to connect emotionally first, then rationally.

We need to first build emotional connection to a pain or problem a buyer feels acutely. Then, we need to build a rational justification for the purchase and financial investment.

The mutual business case builds both types of connections — and it does so consistently!

The key steps in a mutual business case:

  • Buyer goal: establishing an important buyer goal or initiative
  • Buyer gap: identifying an obstacle that is keeping the buyer from being more successful 
  • Buyer success: asking the buyer to articulate what success would look like if the gap was removed
  • Value of success: putting a dollar value to the buyer’s self-defined success 

Helping a buyer articulate a gap to a goal creates emotion, which is often negative. Helping a buyer articulate a more successful future flips that emotional energy from negative to positive.

Quantifying that success into a mutual business case gives your buyer the language and evidence to justify with their colleagues and boss the emotional decision to purchase.

To overcome inertia, you need to help your buyers see significant value in working with you.

That is best done through guided discovery to a mutual business case rather than an ROI pitch.