Be an Investment, Not an Expense
Businesses are reconsidering every dollar they spend. What's that mean for you?
10/13/2020 | Roger Burnett, CAS, The Burn
I recently conducted an impromptu person-to-person poll.
The topic? How business-leaders are approaching budgeting for 2021.
We’re officially in budget-setting season, where businesses turn their attention to next year's expectations with respect to revenue, expenses, capital expenditures, profit-sharing payments, etc.
While the answers I heard were the most inconsistent I have ever accumulated, one clear theme occurred over and over again. No one is excited to devote any significant resources to growing market share, with the exception being hyper-inflated markets like real estate and mortgage-origination.
Everyone else is devoting whatever resources they have to reimagining their workflow. What used to be done by a person might now be outsourced to a virtual assistant or done by artificial intelligence. The role from which you were furloughed just might get filled by someone with a better-developed skill set, or a willingness to take less money and/or reduced benefits just for the sake of having a job. Any remaining resources are being ear-marked for talent-acquisition and paying for those newly-outsourced activities.
The negative implications for those of us tasked with sales is pretty significant given this reaction, but there may be a sliver of hope in all of this uncertainty, if you can successfully execute on a narrow but focused strategy.
Be seen as an investment, not an expense.
What do I mean by that?
If you’ve traditionally been invited to work with your customers at the tail end of whatever sales-cycle they typically use to arrive at a transaction with you, the likelihood of you being able to add value to the effort is effectively nullified. With no additional value, your participation in the deal is merely to ensure they get what they asked for. You, by association with only the financials of the transaction, are seen as an extension of the cost of the product.
You’re a part of the expense that will be recorded against the budget the project is billed against, no matter how well you deliver on those minimal expectations.
Here’s where the strategy part comes in. You have to spend time, energy, resources and attention on the people you get money from. The kind of time that makes them feel like when they give you money, they perceive themselves as making an investment in you and your company’s success.
How many customers of yours would say that today? How would you even be able to accomplish that task? It’s in those two questions that the seeds of a plan can be planted, a plan that might be the difference maker in this time of frightened spending.
If you’re not spending time creating self-serve opportunities for potential investors to evaluate you as a prospective place for their investment, you’re firmly planting yourself on the expense line. Businesses are reconsidering every dollar they spend these days, with a heavy emphasis placed on an intimate understanding of the story behind those businesses with which they’re spending money. If you can prove that dollars spent with you can confidently be defended as not being a waste of resources, if you can show how the world is made better when you’re the vendor of choice, you create opportunities to transform what was otherwise written-off as needless expenses into places people can be proud to invest.
Ask around in your own business community. Take the same temperature check of the businesses you most often work with and make a decision based on the responses. If you find yourself faced with a similar possibility as mine, these might be timely words as you consider your own 2021 goals.
Used with permission from PromoCorner Original article located at https://www.promocorner.com/promojournal/Be-an-Investment-Not-an-Expense?i=4536