To successfully overcome any objection you first have to fully understand it.
One common objection from clients and sponsors is:
“It doesn’t provide enough Return on Investment (ROI) “
The mistake some people make on receiving this objection is to launch straight into a repeat of the key features and benefits that their proposal offers, thinking that repeating what they have said will win over the prospect. Only if the prospect has a hearing problem would this be the correct strategy!
The challenge is that ROI means different things to different people.
For some clients and sponsors it may mean more prospects, sales and revenue, for others, more press coverage and branding.
For some it may mean enhanced brand awareness, reputation and loyalty, for others, greater access to unique experiences and hospitality.
ROI is whatever it is for that prospect.
Not only does ROI mean different things to different people, within each answer there are a whole range of more specific answers. For example, if ROI is seen in terms of more sales, the question then is:
- Sales of which products?
- In which market?
- Over what time frame?
When someone gives you the ROI objection, use questioning (the number one skill of all successful business developers) to probe their answer further:
“When you say ROI, what does a Return on Investment mean to you in your business?”
If they mention more than one factor you need to understand which factor is most important to them.
Once you understand what ROI means to your prospect, then you can meaningfully begin to address their objections in order of importance.
Let’s turn to the question of when to measure ROI
Measuring ROI is essential for every activity; too often the evaluation is completed too soon, leading to incorrect conclusions about the effectiveness of the activity.
Charities are particularly guilty of this; they draw conclusions on the financial success of their fundraising events too soon after an event.
If you have an activity that provides relationship building opportunities (which many events do), evaluation of ROI should be undertaken 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after the event and then on an annual basis allowing for the lifetime value of the business generated from those relationships to be included in your ROI calculation.
My own experience
I am still running workshops for organisations as a result of talks I undertook in 2004 and 2006.
If a few days after those talks I had weighed up the costs (the amount of time and effort involved in preparation and delivery of the talk) against my return (which after a few days was only a bunch of new business cards) I might have wrongly concluded that the talks were not worth doing as no direct business had been immediately generated. What I have learnt is that…
Return on Investment is ongoing if you make the investment in the right activity
Our focus should be on making the right investments for our organisations. To understand what those investments are, consider where your current clients, customers, sponsors and donors originated?