// Blog
7_Questions_to_Uncover_Impact_and_ROI

7 Questions to Uncover Impact and ROI

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

Show them the impact.

Make a strong ROI case.

Sell the value.

Sales pros tout the benefits of making a strong ROI (return on investment) case all the time. Yet we see sellers time and again who don't know how to calculate and communicate the impact of their solutions.

They focus on features in their conversations and highlight the benefits, but don't convey what it means for each individual buyer and the difference it can make for them—financially, personally, and emotionally.

If you, as the seller, can't make the case, it's unlikely your buyers can make it for themselves and other stakeholders, leaving your sale at risk.

How to Make the ROI Case

  1. If you could overcome these challenges, what would happen to your company's financial situation?
  2. If you were to make this happen, what would it mean for you?
  3. How would implementing these changes affect your competitiveness in the market?
  4. What won't happen if you chose not to move forward with this?
  5. How do you think the Board of Directors would evaluate the success of this initiative?
  6. If you don't solve [insert the challenge here], what kind of difficulties will you face going forward?
  7. Ask specific questions related to your solution that you need to calculate the impact.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when working to uncover the impact and ROI with a buyer:

  • Ask the right questions. If you don't ask, you'll never know what's important to your buyer. You'll make broad statements that could be much more powerful had you gotten the particulars of the buyer's situation and customized it for them. Asking your buyers the right questions to understand their unique situation and the impact your solution can have is essential for success. (A few questions are provided below, and you can download our guide, 50 Powerful Sales Questions, for more.)
  • The impact case will be different for each buyer. While you can create a general impact model for your solutions, you must ask the right questions and insert the buyer's numbers to make your case as strong as possible. One buyer may be more interested in the revenue growth your solution will help them attain, another the cost savings, and yet another may be most interested in how this project will make them look good to leadership, helping them receive the raise they desire. If you don't ask, you'll never know.
  • Get the buyer to articulate the impact. The more you can get the buyer to articulate their desired numbers and do the calculations themselves, the greater buy-in and ownership they'll have over them. When you get the buyer to do the calculation, it's not your numbers you're trying to convince them of, it's the goals they've set for themselves and hope to achieve with your guidance. This also demonstrates great collaboration during the sales process, a key to winning sales.

7 Questions to Build a Strong ROI Case

  1. If you could overcome these challenges, what would happen to your company's financial situation?

    You need to get the buyer to quantify the impact of working with you. It's one thing to tell the buyer that, on average, you're able to save your clients $250,000 in operating costs. It's another for them to do the calculation themselves and see the impact on their business.

    Read: 6 Ways to Communicate Impact in Sales

  2. If you were to make this happen, what would it mean for you?

    The more of a stake the buyer has in seeing the results realized, the more buy-in you'll get, and the more likely the buyer is to support you internally. Beyond financial impact, you want to help the buyer look good. For example, maybe your project will help the buyer get a promotion they desire.

  3. How would implementing these changes affect your competitiveness in the market?

    Your project could potentially help the company grow market share, become more profitable than competitors, or be more innovative in the market. Whatever it is, you need your buyer to articulate how working with you will give them a leg up over their competition.

  4. What won't happen if you chose not to move forward with this?

    When urgency to move forward is an issue, ask what won't happen. The buyer likely already knows what won't happen but saying it aloud makes it real. You don't want to scare the buyer but creating fuel for action can be helpful.

  5. How do you think the Board of Directors would evaluate the success of this initiative?

    Knowing the metrics by which your work will be judged is a key step to success. By knowing these ahead of time, you're able to put systems in place to track metrics from the get-go.

  6. If you don't solve [insert the challenge here], what kind of difficulties will you face going forward?

    Again, looking at the cost of inaction can create fuel for moving forward. This question is also helpful as buyers start trying to piecemeal your product/solution.

  7. Ask specific questions related to your solution that you need to calculate the impact.

    Each solution is unique. Maybe you need to know how many facilities they have, the revenue of each dealer, current throughput time, results of top performers, etc. Whatever it is, develop a list of the specific numbers you need to collect to make the strongest impact case and ask these questions in your conversations.


To be successful in sales, you need to demonstrate to your buyers how working with you is going to improve their world—both personally and professionally. You can start by asking these 7 questions to build a strong ROI case and demonstrate the impact of working together.

RECOMMENDED READING >> 21 Powerful, Open-Ended Sales Questions

Topics: Sales Conversations Consultative Selling