By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

0-cost-ben-analysisOne of the core concepts of CustomerCentric Selling® is:  People make emotional decisions for logical reasons. There are many instances when sellers are not privy to all the emotional components of buying decisions.

An important logical reason for doing business is a compelling cost vs. benefit. In many cases it seems the seller is trying to tell buyers how good it’s going to be and base that on industry statistics and potential improvement. As it relates to value, often both parties aren’t on the same page.

The numbers used in any cost vs. benefit must be the buyer’s opinion if they are used to justify the expenditure. We suggest that for each Key Player in a buying committee, sellers should list the desired business outcomes (goals) and wherever possible have the buyer establish a base line of where they are without using your offering. After presenting documented results your customers have achieved, ask the buyer to estimate what improvement they feel is possible. 

For enterprise decisions, the cost vs. benefit is a summary of projected improvement of each committee member’s desired outcomes. Doing cost vs. benefit analyses in this manner: 

  • Is a major step in qualifying opportunities
  • Gives buyers a better chance to fund initiatives
  • Helps buyers understand the cost of delaying decisions
  • Provides buyers a logical reason for making purchases

Sellers often overlook that they compete for funding with other sellers that aren’t competitors. Assume for a minute you are one of five non-competing vendors that have quoted about $100K for their offerings and the financial approver only has $300K that can be spent. Only one vendor had included a cost vs. benefit analysis in their proposal. How much higher are the chances that seller will be one of the three that will get good news?