Excerpted from the book on mindful business management, Business Black Belt.
Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.
~ Victor Hugo, author
Some things are more trouble than they’re worth. Sometimes you can put a direct cost to them. Sometimes it’s just a feeling. Either way, it’s always an angle to consider.
I look at a lot of deals these days in terms of profitability, cash flow and the bullshit factor. I also use the bullshit factor in sales strategies. In these days of incredible business complexity, technological confusion, government bureaucracy, etc., business bullshit is playing a bigger and bigger part in our daily lives. I define the BS factor as the un-quantifiable emotional considerations surrounding a deal.
These are everyday things that affect decisions and steal time, and they can be used to your advantage when you include these consciously in your sales, marketing, and product or service design. In fact, the BS things are often the fundamental basis for my business. For example, in the software business, many people duplicate disks, print manuals, make boxes, assemble packages, warehouse, and ship… but few do all of the above and do them well. Having tried to manage a variety of vendors for each of these services, I learned to appreciate having one company handle all of it for me. I could save money by handling it myself, but the added BS isn’t worth it. Our vendor knows this and structured his company accordingly.
Likewise, what can you include as part of your service that minimizes BS for your customers? We recently replaced our packaging for BizPlanBuilder. Usually what happens is the 3,000 or so retailers as well as distributors and others want to ship back all the product with the old box in exchange for the new one. And the industry is set up to do that. Imagine the BS and cost this creates! In a stroke of genius, our Vice President of Sales decided to offer a $10 coupon for each product they didn’t return. In the same letter, he pointed out all the BS the retailers would go through if they followed the normal pattern of returning the package. “You’ll have to pull our packages off the shelves and have nothing to sell, take the time to box and ship them to the distributor, complete a Returned Materials Authorization form, deal with the accounting, explain it to and manage their employees, then double-check the entire process later! Or, accept $10 and proceed with business as usual.” This worked like a charm and saved us a fortune in returned product.
Bring the BS to the surface
How can you work all the BS factors into your sales presentation? “In addition to [add the benefits] of our product/service, we handle/eliminate all the [list the BS factors] to make it easy for you [to do business with us….]” Put yourself in your customer’s place—what would working with your company be like? And what can you do to rightfully take on your customers’ BS and win their business?
Business Black Belt Notes
- Engineer and pitch your deal to demonstrate how it comes with minimum BS or removes BS from your customers’ lives.
- Consider the BS involved in everything you do before you jump into a project.