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Parable: My truck is loud and it needs a new muffler, so I take it to the shop. The mechanic opens his toolbox, installs a new muffler, charges me $200 and I drive away happy.

The key: The “truck being loud” represents an accounts payable procedure riddled with human-error and wasted time. The “muffler” is really a better solution, the “shop” is really you, and “toolbox” represents the ECM solutions that you sell.

If you can fix my broken AP process, I’ll give you $200 [and more]. “Driving away happy” simply means I will recommend you to my friends…

Now lets stop… think about this:

  1. Did I ask the mechanic what brand tools he uses?

  2. Did the mechanic demonstrate how cool his socket-wrench is?

  3. Do I really care about the tools he will use?

The answer to all of the above is emphatically NO!  I don’t give a #@$! about how the mechanic fixes my truck, all I care about is that after I pay, it is nice and quiet! So if this is true, ask yourself this:

  1. Should I espouse all the cool things my software [just a tool] can do, or should I be ‘laser-focused’ on the problem at hand [the AP process]?

  2. Do I tell them what brand my solution is? [Do they care?]

  3. Do I demo the administrative features of the software?

The answer to all of these is also NO! They don’t care about the brand, probably wouldn’t recognize it anyhow. And talk about boring – demo the software without addressing my specific business needs [I’ll probably throw you out]. In summary, I had a sign made up a few years back that read: If you want to sell more boxes, take your eyes off the box! Folks, please please please stop selling on features. Clients don’t care! Instead, learn about business processes; read, attend class, ask internal folks. If you can’t go into an engagement and intelligently converse about how the AP process works, you will work way to hard to get the deal – if you do at all.

The ECM Institute offers a ‘Business Acumen’ course as well as a ‘CDIA+’ certification course. Both courses hold fast to this philosophy. The first teaches specifically what you need to know about AP processing (as well as a few other business processes) in order to SELL an ECM solution (doc-mgmt, workflow, forms automation), and the second helps differentiate you from your competition because being certified provides your clients with proof that you know what you’re talking about! Like being more of a consultant, and less of a salesperson… These classes are held once a month. Happy to tell you more, just reach-out…

Get trained, get certified, and prove to your prospects that you are able, competent and willing to solve their deepest business issues. “You can do it!”

Byron Aulick, CEE, Project+, ECMs

Has 35 years ECM experience, is a subject-matter-expert and has trained more than 4,000 students across the globe in ECM technology.