What Really Matters

Businesspeople are trained to believe that revenue, profit and shareholder value are what matter in business.  

So if those are the only things that matter, in order to make more sales, all you need to do is show your prospects a strong ROI.  If you can show the client that their investment will pay out 2x or more of their investment, they'll buy, right?  


The reason this is wrong is because revenue, profit and shareholder value don't account for human emotion.  Humans are generally motivated by their own personal fear and their own personal greed -- these things are satisfied by events that are generally far more basic than numbers.  So when you focus your pitch around nothing but ROI, you aren't tapping into what matters to the human that you're dealing with. Here are some of the questions that a potential partner might be asking themselves when you're blabbing away about revenue, profit and ROI. 

  • If this project works, will it make others looks bad?
  • Do I want the added responsibility that will come with success?
  • Will I get in trouble if this doesn't work?
  • Am I going to have to work later at night or on weekends because of this project?
  • Will my boss think this is cool?
  • Will my spouse think this is cool?
  • Will it be fun to work on?
  • Will I get promoted if this works?
  • Will I have to move to a new office if this works?  Will I have a longer commute?

This is why understanding your client and the individuals you’re working with is critical.  Know what will get them a bonus and know what will get them fired.  And be sure that the value your product brings to your partner will lead to one and prevent the other.