Common Sales Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid
By Erica Stritch

sales negotiation

Negotiation is everywhere: in selling, setting salaries, getting the labor union back to the table, figuring out where to go out to dinner... even getting your kids to go to bed.

Since negotiation is everywhere, so is negotiation advice. Harvard professor Steven Pinker once said, "Much of the advice from parenting experts is flapdoodle." We feel the same about sales negotiation advice. Not only is it flapdoodle, it is often directly the opposite of what a seller should do.

A lot of "experts" and those who believe themselves well-versed in negotiations take the liberty of sharing all kinds of recommendations for succeeding in sales negotiations.

In this white paper, Mike Schultz and John Doerr, Presidents of RAIN Group and bestselling authors of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, identify 5 common pieces of sales negotiation advice that cause sellers to say and do the wrong things in negotiations, resulting in alienated buyers, damaged relationships, and lost deals.

Click here to download 5 Common Sales Negotiation Mistakes.

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When Win-Win Is Not the Best Sales Negotiation Approach
By Mike Schultz

win-win sales negotiations

You've been working on a sale for 4 months and everything's going great. Your potential customer, the decision maker, is talking as if the deal is done. But before final sign off, you must meet with the CFO.

You get to the meeting.

The CFO is icy.

She opens by saying, "I have a hard stop in 45 minutes, and the only issue I have with the project is the price. I’m prepared to sign off on it, but things have been tough and I am going to need you to drop your fees by 15%. If you can do that, the deal is done."

Sellers who aren't prepared for this situation lose sales. Or maybe they win them, but they only do so after dropping their prices and cutting their margins.

Anyone who's been around in the world of sales has heard of win-win negotiation. The idea is to work collaboratively to develop creative solutions that expand the pie and create success on both sides. Some people go as far to say that win-win is the only approach you need to know for success...

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Be Assertive in Sales (Without Getting Fired)
By Mike Schultz


A long time ago, I was fly fishing with a grizzled, old, big company leadership consultant. I asked him what he thought differentiated good consultants from great consultants—those at the pinnacle of the game.

He said, "Let me think."

A little while later, we were in the middle of the river when he turned to me and said, "A great consultant will say what he has to say to the client—what the client needs to hear—but that might get the consultant fired. Though, at the end of the day, the consultant has the interpersonal skills not to get fired."

In other words, great consultants are assertive, but also have a deep well of emotional intelligence.

What makes for a great consultant, in this case, also makes for a great insight seller. In fact, assertiveness is one of the 12 key attributes of insight sellers.

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Is Your Need for Approval Holding You Back from Sales Success?
By John Doerr

ball and chain

How many times have you left a sales meeting and thought, "I should have said that..."?

Or, during a meeting, as you listened to what a prospect was saying, you thought, "That's not right; he will be making a big mistake if he goes down that path," but you never voiced your opinion?

Or, perhaps even more dramatic, you got the sense, "This guy is holding something back. I need to get to the bottom of this." But, again, you said nothing?

In all of these examples, what usually keeps you from saying the things you want to (and should) say is a strong need for approval from your prospects. You want to be liked, and in some cases loved, more than you want to close the deal. Research1 that includes more than 500,000 sellers estimates that 47% of sales people have a need for approval to the extent that it can limit their ability to ask tough questions, disagree when appropriate, and advocate for a point of view that may be disruptive to the status quo.

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Should Buyers Take You Seriously?
By Mike Schultz

insight seller attributes

What do James Franco, Daniel Craig, and Mo'Nique all have in common? They're described as actors who bring gravitas to their roles on the big and small screens.* Another is Sir Patrick Stewart, who embodied gravitas as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Picard had power and authority. He commanded respect. When he spoke, the Enterprise—and everyone else in the universe—listened.

Gravitas is rooted in Latin, meaning heavy, serious, having gravity. In the sales world, gravitas means you're someone to be taken seriously.

When buyers take you seriously, they're more apt to take your advice and buy into your ideas. That's why gravitas is a key quality of an insight seller.

Got Gravitas? What It Means for Winning Sales

Insight sellers possess 12 key attributes needed to succeed in sales. We've divided them into tendencies that drive behavior and qualities that guide those actions. Gravitas is one of five qualities found in sellers who consistently win sales. So what does gravitas look like?

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