COVID-19 Update

You Might Have Heard This One Before: Stop Selling Boxes, Start Selling Outcomes

Business consultant Tom Stimson says integrators and live events pros are taking the wrong approach to proposals if they don’t focus on outcomes.

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Please stop talking about how you’re preparing for the “new normal,” “next normal” or even “the better normal,” as AVIXA CEO David Labuskes has dubbed the way we’ll interact once the coronavirus pandemic has run its course and we’re able to get back to living.

You’re in it right now, whether you’re ready for it or not, says AV business consultant Tom Stimson.

“This is your normal,” he said in this week’s edition of “The Show Will Go On” webinar series.

It’s time to change the way your team builds proposals—and the reasons they put them together, says Stimson. When a luxury home builder is putting together plans, he doesn’t list exactly how many nails he’ll use or the exact size of every piece of lumber it’ll take to finish the same.

Creating an integrated AV system or live sound setup is the same, says Stimson.

“Don’t design a proposal down to the last cable, just so you know what it’s worth and what you should ask the customer to pay you,” he says. “Don’t show your work unless that’s what you’re being paid for. You’re doing their work for them and then they’ll take that work to the supplier they want to work with.

“When you quote something this way, you’re obligated to do it this way or the client can asks why you didn’t do the work the way you said you would,” says Stimson, noting homes are quoted on square footage and AV systems can be proposed the same way.

“You wouldn’t want to do business this way,” he says. “Don’t ask your customers to do it. How the customer chooses the design will affect where the money is spent. Your proposal should affect the value of what you do. Your customer can only see the tip of the iceberg.

“Your margin is in the intangibles. You need to learn how to sell those. When we add value, we add margin,” says Stimson.

Sell Outcomes, Not Parts

He talked about the concept of additive selling, which starts with deliverables (parts), expands to scope of work (functionality) before reaching the bottom of the iceberg at outcomes (integration). Depending on the type of customer you’re selling to, you’ll have to figure out which method of selling works best.

“Each style emphasizes the value of the service,” says Stimson. “Who you’re selling for is as important as what you’re selling. We need to spend less time on how we’re creating something for a client and redouble our efforts on what we’re creating.

“If we sell outcomes, we’re also we’re also responsible for all the parts and pieces it takes to put it together,” he says.

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