What I do is hard. It is hard for many reasons but one of the main reasons is the fact that the ROI is not immediate. It is also sometimes difficult to quantify. Maybe because it takes time to build trust. Maybe because it has a lot to do with the relationship itself and not the product or the service directly. Maybe because emotions are still, for many people, hard to express. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because we have yet, as human beings, figured out how to explain…”you know…I just feel it”.
When I played basketball in college, we weren’t the most athletic team in our league. Many teams recognized it and ran full court press against us on defense. Now for me, that was great as for some reason, to me, it made sense. I loved breaking the full court pressure. A fake, a pass back, couple of dribbles and you got an easy lay up the other side of the court. My teammates trusted me to lead that play against this defense. It took away their worry and hence, got them to play in a more calm and composed way which in return, resulted in the whole team preforming better. Coach Halpert told me once after another game we won: “you know Alon, there is no statistics for breaking the press but man, we could never cross the half court without it. This is the heart and the soul of our team. And even if no other player on the team says it out loud, you can just feel it.”
One of my clients asked my assistance with an RFP (Request For Proposal, aka a Bid) they just received. Mind you, I am no expert in the product nor the service my client offers (I know enough to be dangerous) and my main value here was Emotional Relevance of course. The HOW. We went through the process, submitted the RFP, attended the Q&A session and then were planning on going into the waiting period. I asked my client to reach out to the prospect and ask for a few minutes’ conversation. My client claimed “but we are not supposed to” and so I replied: “and hence, the first pillar of Emotional Relevance – Stand Out”. If you send this “unusual” request in the right manner, the worst thing that could happen is they would say no. And even if it’s a no, they now are talking about us and seeing us in a bit of a different light. The best thing that could happen is that we have a few minutes conversation with them. “OK, but what will we be talking about?” asked my client. The purpose of this contact is to make them FEEL, I am sure you have dozens of questions from the RFP you could ask them on this call.
“OK, say we get the 5 minutes call with them, how making them FEEL is going to make a difference?”. Well, this is where pillar number 2 comes to play – Make an Impact. We will prepare well, research about the person we will be talking with and make sure to plant an Emotional Anchor that will be there for a while and that we could trigger when possible.
We sent the email. To everyone’s surprise the prospect agreed to have a few minutes’ phone call (as a strategic tip, I suggest sending such a request as close as possible following the Q&A session. I noticed in the past that the longer you wait the less likely you are to get a yes) and we planted the Emotional Anchor.
We made it to the final round and were invited for a face to face presentation. This is where I worked with my client on emphasizing the third pillar of Emotional Relevance – Get Personal.
My client did not get the business for this opportunity. They were short on a couple of technical pieces the prospect required. About an hour after the received the official notification they did not get the bid, a phone call came through. It came through to the same person who requested and conducted the 5 minutes conversation following the Q&A session. And this phone call came from the same guy who accepted that 5 minutes conversation. He apologized to my client and shed some more light on the technical requirements and why they simply could not wait for my client to develop these missing pieces. After that part of the conversation the prospect asked my client whether they will be willing to oversee the implementation and the project for them. My client, a bit shocked asked: “hmmmm….I mean, sure but they are somewhat of a competition you know”. The prospect replied: “I know but I feel I can trust you and you said something on our call that made me feel you could be a great advisor for us on this project. The other guys have a great technology, but I feel you guys could be the heart and the soul of this project”.
"The PM stat is "Plus/Minus", and reflects how the team did while that player is on the court." iscoresport.com
15 years ago the NBA has figured it out and implemented a +/- score system where keeps track of the net changes in the score when a given player is either on or off the court. This system takes into account not only how many points you scored, rebounds you collected or assists you passed. It also values how the player you guarded did, how well your team did overall and more. I have not yet figured out the formula for a full Emotional Relevance ROI however I have created tools such as an Emotional Relevance cycle, an Emotional Relevance customer mapping, an Emotional Relevance relationship scale and soon an Emotional Relevance assessment. These tools, similar to the NBA +/- system measure the overall team performance while you (Account Manager, Sales, Customer Success, BDR etc.) took part of the relationship.
Sometimes I reminisce on my hoops days and contemplate what would my +/- score be. What my basketball ROI would have been.
And until the Emotional Relevance +/- score system is published, I would like to ask you – Stand Out, Make and Impact and Get Personal. And more importantly when they, your clients, feel it…for now…maybe that’s the only ROI they need. The rest will follow.