A new corporate criteria buying anything...

Many of us has worked with the mantra of "Better, Cheaper, Faster" as a way to describe our products or services to our customers. And there was always a saying "you can have two, but not all three".

I'm beginning to see a change - that mantra is being replaced by a simpler version, one that drives us to a easier view of the world - "Top line, Bottom line, or Both".

In this new world - products and services that a company purchases are being "justified" against this simple equation - does it increase my sales [top line], does it decrease my costs [bottom line] or does it do both? In the case of 'buying' something new within (or changing the way a corporation does something) - one of these buying criteria is how your customer will evaluate which solution they will purchase.

If your product's or service's value proposition does not include some way for the buyer to relate to this simple view, you are going to lose business. Differentiation between "suppliers" is not going to be about various product specifications, it will be in simple terms of adding and subtracting.

Believe me - this is a harsh reality for many product and service providers. They want to "tell" this future customer to trust them, they are experts, they know what's best -- without providing real details of HOW this will provide the only real value a company cares about -- lowering the bottom line or raising the top line.

It's simple - as a customer, tell me how much I can save (or how much I will gain) by using your product or service. And then, I want you (the supplier) to help determine if it worked or not.

As a buyer there are three scenarios (and where I believe their mindset is during a purchase):

  • If they do it today => it's about bottom line
  • If they don't do it today => it's about top line
  • If they do it today, but believe there is a better way => it's about both

The next time you are "proposing" something for a customer, think in terms of Top line vs. Bottom line vs. Both. How can you save them money - or create new revenue - or do both. And once you make those bold statements, be ready to substantiate them with "facts" either hard facts or anecdotal evidence - because we all know how easy it is to say something.

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