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You are costing me too much!

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

"IT is costing me too much!" - how often do you hear that?

Ok, the scenario is usually this:

It is the next budget cycle, or the next project. You are done with your calculations. With some stress in the stomach, you go to the board for approval. You give your presentation: you proudly explain all the stuff you need, what investments to be done, and what great infrastructure or application you will then have at the end.

You may describe the trends, and the achievements this means for the modernization of the IT landscape. How this will build synergies between the parts if IT you have today, and how this will save time for your people managing the entire system.

Then you take a deep breath and you name the budget you need.

Numbers told, and then: silence.

Heads turning to each other around the table, you hear whispers, but you cannot understand what they are saying.

Finally one of them, turns to you, standing in front of them all alone in front of the silver screen, where the last slide is projected with your calculations.

"It costs too much." - you hear the cold words.

You start argument, going through the numbers again, proving that you did a great job: no one can offer this for lower costs, no better prices are available, everything is calculated to the bare minimum with regards to the costs and getting the highest gain at the end.

Yet you are interrupted again hearing:

"You are costing me too much. We don't have that in the budget"

You hear yet also something about cost cutting, difficult situation of the company, and that everybody needs to take his part in reducing the bottom line.

At the end you leave the meeting with less as what you had when you started.

Sounds familiar, right?


The good news are the you really did a great job in planning and calculation

You know that, and it is even true. The bad news are that you just could not manage to sell it.

"But why are they so ignorant?" - you ask yourself.

And the answer is bitter: They are not ignorant, they are just not motivated. They have their problems, needs and interests. And they want to have a solution for those. All what you presented was great. They just did not get the connection between what you offered and what this really mean for them.

And this is because you did not focus on the VALUE of your proposal - and when i say value, i mean the VALUE NOT FOR YOU, or for your department. I mean the VALUE FOR THEM as the board and as individuals.

Because the value of a service or product or whatever you want to sell is measured by the needs and wants of the buyer.

You always need to show them what is in it FOR THEM.

This can be quite different per individual, per case, per customer in each case for the same service or product, each time you are trying to "sell" it. Your job is to find that value and express it.

OK just let's take an example: if you present it to the CFO this may be the return of investment. If he hears that the ROI is one year and then it generates indirect profit by reducing the bottom line to the half, he will asks you if it would also work with a higher amount. But if you talk to the sales guy telling that it will double the top line he will ask you if this can even be more.

Always think on that how you would justify at home you last buy on the Internet? What was it? A Raspberry PI? A watch? How could you convince all of your family members that the purchase was necessary?

One of you most important tasks is to think and express the VALUES in terms of your customers or management. Otherways you bring your entire organization to danger. And you are responsible for your organization and for your people.

You have to shift you relation to your management or to your customers from cost based relation to a value based relation. Measuring how good you do that tells you the willingness of them to pay for your services.

So next time when you get the question at the end of your presentation:

"And what can you do with more?"

Then you can be sure you did a really great job.

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