Yes, But How Much Will It Cost?

Cost vs value is like a game of hopscotch

There's an interesting paradox about problems and solutions. The size of the problem doesn't necessarily determine the cost of the solution.

Sit with that for just a minute.

How many times have you discussed a real, need to do something now, pants on fire issue with a client, and they immediately bounce back with "Yes, but how much will it cost"?

Hmmm ...

  • You've clearly reviewed in non-technical words what is going to happen.
  • You and your client have discussed why taking action is a big deal.
  • Heads around the table nod knowingly.
  • The next step is right there.
  • The responsible business decision is to get moving.
  • And yet ... the urgency of the solution is defined by short term dollars, not long term impacts.

  • We were so fortunate to have a 23-year long partnership with our first startup client. Many of you have heard our company birth story, and the remarkable relationship we enjoyed with Cotton States Insurance.

    As I thought about this future squashing cost-first approach to problem solving, I was reminded of one of Cotton States' most impactful leadership assets.

    We continually watched for problems as well as hidden opportunities for the company, their agents, and customers. What fun it was. Our frequent "what if we did this" question was appreciated and encouraged.

    Never once was the immediate reply, "Yes, but how much will it cost?" Instead, what we heard was the sound of dots connecting, of a strategic, thoughtful leader who said, "OK. Tell me more."

    Did they have a bottomless piggy bank that we were allowed to freely raid anytime?

    Absolutely not.
    Quite the opposite.

    We understood that every opportunity and problem solution had costs. What determined a yes or no was our ability to create and communicate practical, measurable value. It was this consistent long view that allowed us – together-- to deliver some amazing, innovative, financially successful solutions, products, and services over 23 years.


    Cotton States set a high bar for the mutually meaningful relationships we commit to with each of our clients.

    The next time one of your clients erects the conversation-stopping "how much does it cost" roadblock, help them reshape their thinking with a value-focused discussion. Their cost obstacle might mean "I don't understand the value yet".

  • What is the actual cost to your company if you don't do this?

  • Disable any network ports that are not needed. Printers often have unsecure ports enabled by default.
  • What will your company look like a week, a month, a year from now if you don't act?
  • Is doing nothing really an option?
  • How are your clients affected?
  • What is the lasting value this will create for your company and your clients?

  • Sometimes value before cost thinking happens. It's a good day all around.

    And sometimes cost-first thinking still prevails. You know what to do with that.

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    Tags: Business Strategy

    . . .

    Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable client relationships. She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

    Linda believes that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely, and delivering more than their clients even know they need. As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."

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