How BIG is that Problem? 10 Questions to Count the Total Cost.

We’re getting 5-star reviews for Same Side Selling (Amazon #1 seller!), and many of them praise the benefits of our collaborative approach for both the seller and the buyer. These words are great to read, because improving the buyer/seller relationship is the point of the book that Ian Altman and I wrote.

Both parties are more successful when their eyes are wide open about COST: the cost of what they’re buying, what they’re selling, and the cost of the problems they are solving.

After all, most buying decisions come down to a judgment of whether the cost of the solution is less than the cost of the problem.



So here’s a question: what is the biggest problem on your plate right now? 

Do you understand the total cost of that problem? Or – to use language from Same Side Selling – do you know the full Impact of the problem if it is left unaddressed?

Ten Questions to Count the Total Cost

Total cost includes time, risk, and opportunity – as well as the dollars you pay. Here are ten questions to help you identify the TOTAL cost of your problem: 


  1. How much are you paying vendors & consultants who are addressing the problem?
  2. How much more do you have to pay other vendors because of the problem?
  3. What supplies, equipment, or materials are bought because of the problem?


  1. How much time do your employees spend dealing with problem?
  2. How much time does management spend worrying about or talking about the problem?


  1. What leads / relationships are you not developing because of the problem?
  2. What is your team not becoming because of the problem?
  3. How is your service or product not improving because of the problem?


  1. What negative outcomes are more likely because of the problem? Could you lose a key team member, or an important client? How much would that cost?
  2. What will things look like if the problem isn’t fixed in 3 months? In six months? In a year?


When you uncover the full impact of the problem you face, it may turn out to be smaller than you thought. Or if things break the other way, you may have a new urgency toward fixing the problem. Either way the total cost will help you make better decisions.

In the next article, we’ll look at the total cost of potential solutions.

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