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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Sell for lifetime value

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Let’s say you’re calling on a customer who spends $250,000 on whatever it is you sell. For you and your company, this deal is not huge, but it isn’t small either—just slightly larger than your average-sized deal. So you treat this $250,000 deal as if it’s no big deal.

But what if you looked at this deal through another lens? What if you viewed this $250,000 prospect based on the lifetime value of that customer? What if you looked at his value based on his spending and retention rate? If you keep your clients for an average of seven years, the deal you’re competing for is actually worth $1,750,000. Would you treat a $1,750,000 deal differently than a $250,000 deal?

Preparation. You prepare differently for big deals than you do for small deals. You read more about your prospect. You study more. You put together agendas. You prepare your questions and the answers to questions you expect to receive. You prepare collateral material to support your efforts. You show up with the intention of winning.

Time Invested. You invest more time with prospects who spend more in your category. You invest more time in discovery, in meeting with stakeholders to build consensus and in internally building the right solution. You look at the time as an investment, because you know it’s what it will take to win a deal.

Effort. You try a lot harder to win big deals, don’t you? You work to do everything in your power to win. You engage more people inside your company, and you ensure that your management and leadership teams are involved, so they’ll feel some ownership of the deal. You work harder to get your dream client exactly what he needs.

The deals you’re selling now are bigger than you believe. The opportunities you’re working right now are worth five, seven or even ten times what the deal is worth in the first year. By looking at only at the value of a client in the first year, you aren’t selling as well as you might be were you to take a longer view of that customer’s worth. So think of that $1,000,000 deal as the $10,000,000 it may in time become.

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