Boost sales by building a business case

Not having a business case is careless investing; in fact it’s not even investing, it’s gambling.

“Why should we have a tent there? What’s the business case for it?” The seller is irritated. He curses silently beneath his breath. ‘Argh! What’s this business case nonsense? If they don’t want a tent there and the competition has one, shauri yao! (I don’t care). ” And just like that an opportunity to accelerate sales is lost.

But what is a business case? A business case is a justification for a proposed undertaking on the basis of its projected commercial gain. Meaning, because an investment is about to be made, it makes business sense to know what return is expected from it. If it’s a tent where you are going to sell, then quantifying what sales you expect from it is building a business case. Not having a business case is careless investing; in fact it’s not even investing, it’s gambling.

So what to do? Typically, a seller would do what comes easiest which is to enthusiastically say, “We should have a tent at (say) the Junction Mall.” And the sales manager would respond as per the opening sentence in this article. And if instead of getting irritated, the seller responded with, “On average 4,000 personal cars drive in and out of that Mall every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All these car owners are our potential clientele. If we could engage even 5 per cent of them, this gives us 600 hot leads (quick wins) we can follow up from. And the total cost won’t exceed 30,000shs. And based on my selling activities around there, I’m sure I can close at least 10 sales over the three days.” The manager’s eyes are likely to pop out as he says, “Send me that business case via email and let me know what you need from us.”

Besides the commercial gain anticipated, another reason why the business case is asked for is because it forces the seller to think through what it is they are asking for. Unfortunately, long-term thinking is not in the nature of a typical seller which is why he dismisses the issue, much to his detriment.  To come up with the figures to justify the case requires that you do some research. This grows you as a seller and makes you accountable. Possibly, in the research process, you may discover that not all that was glittering was gold. Maybe the hundreds of cars that drive in and out of the exhibition are drivers dispatched to drop of children. Or, maybe the cost is prohibitive; or, maybe…And that’s the point. You don’t know hence need to find out so as to justify to yourself first that having a desk at the supermarket will yield a viable return. And what if it doesn’t? Though highly unlikely,if it will not have been from lack of trying, then the business can live with that and learn from it. It is unlikely, however, to deny you another chance.

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