ServiceTrade sells software, so we spend a reasonable amount of time coming up with ideas and content (like this blog post) to help customers make better and faster decisions about buying software (preferably from ServiceTrade). We are particularly fond of catchy, summary phrases and slogans that are memorable for the same reason that consumer marketers come up with jingles that stick in our head. Humans are impressed by and gravitate to rhythm and rhyme (along with images and stories) as a mechanism for storing and retrieving information. It is easier to learn the lyrics to a song than to memorize a speech. If it has rhythm and rhyme, you are more likely to remember the phrase.

So what is the catchy breakthrough I am seeking with this post? I have been writing a lot about how to evaluate and purchase software applications to increase the value of your business. You can check out some of that content here, and here, and here. My latest breakthrough in measuring software value is what I call the “bank bandit barometer” (note the meter and alliteration of that phrase! nice huh?). Why did Jesse James rob banks? ‘Cause that’s where the money was held. Banks are more dense in money than restaurants, or retail outlets, or hotels, for example. A robber is going to get more bang for his buck (or more bucks for his bang if he has to deploy his weapons) by focusing on banks instead of these other cash-poor outlets.

So what does any of this have to do with software? Well, the “bank bandit barometer” for software purchases would say to look for software that helps bring more bucks into the business. What is the metaphorical bank for a service contractor? Where is all of the money? I would argue that the biggest hoard of cash to go attack with software is the cash that is in the hands of the prospective customers in your market. Cash that is currently being spent with other vendors or not being spent at all due to lack of attention. The potential customer spending in the addressable market that can be reached by your services represents probably 1,000 times your current revenue. Maybe only 100 times your revenue if you are a larger contractor in your market.

Contrast this bank vault of customer spending with the focus of most service contractor software consideration – how do I lower my payroll by being more efficient internally? How do I lower my administrative costs? By definition, your administrative costs are some small fraction of your overall revenue. Maybe 10%, or .1 times your current revenue. If you were a bandit, you would be doing poorly using software to “stick up” your administrative payroll. Wringing dollars from administrative payroll is like a bandit sticking up the local neighborhood kids lemonade stand. There just ain’t much money there, so any robbery that is focused on extorting dollars from the lemonade stand is doomed to marginal success at best.

So, what do you think about the “bank bandit barometer” for software purchases? Are you focusing on innovations that help you take more money from the bank that is the market you service? Innovations that help you sell to the customer accounts that you covet? Innovations that help you charge more? And deliver new capabilities? And attract a better class of customer to your business? Are or you content to hold up the lemonade stand because the poor kids running it are a soft target? Think like a bank bandit next time you go out shopping for software applications.

Get more advice for buying software in the Practical Guide to Buying Software for Service Contractors.

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