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Trade Away This Bad Negotiating Technique

By Paul Johnson

865 words. Abstract: While seldom labeled "negotiating," give and take opportunities are abundant in the everyday work world. Learn this simple negotiating technique so you can give up less and get more of what you want, whether there’s money involved or not.

As I look around my basement, I realize that maybe I’m hanging on to too much stuff. When I trade for goods and services (some call that "negotiating"), I realize I’m also pretty good at hanging on to my profit when I’m the seller, and my money when I’m the buyer. How good are you at hanging on to what you already have? One simple technique can make you much better at it.

This works even when no money is trading hands. Perhaps just your time is involved. Maybe your boss wants you to take on "just one more thing." Or you’ve been scheduled for one more meeting. Pretty soon you’re overwhelmed and kicking yourself for saying "Yes" a few too many times. Maybe you can’t say "No" either, but there is another option.

Bad Negotiating Exemplified
Let’s imagine for a moment you’re a seller engaged in a dialog with a potential buyer that goes like this:

  • Buyer: "You’re higher than your competition. What can you do when you sharpen your pencil?"
  • Seller: "I am authorized to match our competition’s price."
  • Buyer: "Great! Unfortunately, I see your standard shipping is 2 weeks, and I need it on Tuesday. Can you do that?"
  • Seller: "I can expedite shipping for you. You can have it by Tuesday if you order now."
  • Buyer: "Nice! But I won’t be able to use it without the accessories kit. Will you include it at no charge if I buy?"
  • Seller: "Sure, I’ll do that just for you, because you’re special."

Let’s stop our example there, although the dialog (and the concessions) certainly didn’t stop there. Notice that at no time did the Buyer commit to the purchase, despite the fact that the Seller has discounted away profit and increased costs by expediting shipping and giving away accessories. The Buyer is "on a roll"; why wouldn’t they keep asking for more concessions?

They will, because they are grinding, a negotiating technique that enables them to continue to sweeten the deal until they either take pity on the Seller and stop, or the Seller makes them stop.

A Fair Turn
Stopping a grinder is easy. Simply replace concessions with trades. Whenever you are asked to give something up, prepare to trade for something of perceived value.

When your boss asks you to do "just one more thing," ask what can come off your current projects list to make room for the new one. When one more meeting comes up, ask which deadline can be pushed back to accommodate the new unplanned need for your time. When your buyer asks for a price concession, ask for… well, what CAN you trade?

Bring In Your Trade-Offs
When negotiating, it can literally pay to be prepared. Anticipate the potential concession requests you may encounter. As a seller, you can prepare a list of possible trade-offs, which might include:

  • Reduced feature set
  • Slower (less expensive) shipping
  • Accepting delivery (and making payment) sooner
  • Faster payment terms
  • Cash instead of credit
  • Adding a "bonus" instead of reducing the price
  • Increasing the order size
  • Testimonial letter
  • Referral to a new prospect
  • Booking the order NOW

Being prepared is key. When the Buyer asks for a discount, the Seller better have something ready to trade. When your boss asks for "just one more thing," it helps to have that list of current projects ready so you can agree on which one to cross off or postpone. When you’re prepared, your dialog can sound like this:

  • Buyer: "You’re higher than your competition. What can you do when you sharpen your pencil?"
  • Seller: "I’d be happy to discuss reducing the price. Which features of my offer would you like me to delete so that I can deliver only what my competition is quoting?"
  • Buyer: "Well, we need everything you’re quoting but, unfortunately, I see your standard shipping is 2 weeks, and I need it on Tuesday. Can you do that?"
  • Seller: "I can give you expedited shipping to hit your Tuesday deadline for free, if we can increase your order quantities by 10% to hit our free shipping minimum."
  • Buyer: "Well, OK, but I won’t be able to use ANY of it without the accessories kit. Will you include it at no charge if I buy?"
  • Seller: "I’d love to do that to get a great new customer like you. Tell you what: if you buy now and agree to give me a glowing testimonial letter when you decide you’re thrilled with us, I’ll get the accessories kit included for you. Have we got a deal?"

Negotiating the Give and Take
When you make trades instead of concessions, you can walk away from both formal and impromptu negotiations with more of what you want. Notice that you never have to say "No"; you simply have to be prepared to say, "I’ll give you what you want if I can have what I want." Prepare, and become a trader that stops the grinding in day-to-day negotiations. You’ll find you’ll have more of what YOU want, including time to clean out your basement.

© 2008 Paul Johnson. All rights reserved.

About The Author:
Paul Johnson the Trouble Breaker works with organizations to convert trouble into double and triple digit performance breakthroughs. Discover breakthrough concepts at http://ShortcutsToResults.com. Visit http://ConsultativeSelling.com for more insights about Consultative Selling.

Note: This article is available for reprint at no charge. We only ask that you include our copyright notice in your reprint, along with the About the Author information we provide at the end of the article.

Posted: under Gaining Commitment (Sales).

Comments (0) Jul 01 2008

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The “Thanks for Your Time” Crime

By Paul Johnson

443 words. Abstract: If you ever find yourself saying, "Thank you for
your time," you’re creating issues for yourself that can damage
relationships. If you’re in sales, the costs are high. Learn the hidden
meanings in this seemingly safe phrase and what you can substitute to
improve your position.

It happened again, but I’m not surprised. As the insurance salesman was wrapping up our meeting, he shook my hand and said, "Thanks for your time." I thought to myself, "What a crime."

He was being polite, and I welcome that. He genuinely appreciated the time I devoted to our interaction. His thank-you was acknowledging the value of the time I had "spent" with him because we all know "time is money." Unfortunately he — like many of us — failed to notice the hidden meaning in that seemingly harmless phrase that subtly sabotages our sales.

Killer Questions
"Your time is valuable. Mine isn’t." That’s what you tell me when you say, "Thanks for your time." Apparently you have nothing better to do with YOUR time than talk with me.

  • Could it be you’re not very good at your job, and people are rarely willing to talk with you?
  • Might I wonder if you’re desperate for a sale?
  • Are you less than busy because you or your offerings are inferior such that I’d be better off dealing with your competition?

All the energy and preparation you’ve expended to establish credibility with me, engender confidence, and establish the value of what you offer is subtly and suddenly diminished when you thank me for my time. After all, if you truly believe the services you offer are valuable, why would you say anything to imply your inferiority?

Decisions Rewarded
We can still be polite without compromising our position. Instead of thanking prospects for their time, we could thank them for something that will lead us closer to the sale. For instance, we could say:

  • "Thanks for opting to meet with me."
  • "Thanks for deciding to take a closer look at this opportunity."
  • "Thank you for choosing to come to my office."

Ultimately we’re going to ask the prospect to make a buying decision. By thanking them for making a choice, you’re giving them verbal applause for their wise decision to meet with you. Plus, you are reinforcing the value of additional decisions you may suggest in the future. Thanking your prospects for making a choice improves your position with them instead of hindering it.

Serve Without Subservience
Always remember that what you offer is valuable, as is the time you commit to delivering the details that describe it. In the land where "all men are created equal," don’t commit the crime of forgetting that and reducing yourself to a subservient position by thanking others for their time. Compliment their decisions instead. You’ll maintain peer status with your buyer, elevate yourself to advisor status faster, and accelerate your sales success.

© 2008 Paul Johnson. All rights reserved.

About The Author:
Paul Johnson is Founder of ConsultativeSelling.com and a keynote speaker. He works with organizations like ADP, Nortel Networks and AutoNation to convert sales trouble into double and triple digit performance breakthroughs. Learn how to apply Consultative Selling at http://ConsultativeSelling.com/.

Note: This article is available for reprint at no charge. We only ask that you include our copyright notice in your reprint, along with the About the Author information we provide at the end of the article.

Posted: under Gaining Commitment (Sales).

Comments (1) Apr 01 2008

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Competitive PowerPoint

Here’s a follow-up to my article of April 1, 2007, The PowerPoint Dozen Dare, where I suggest you can sell anything in 12 slides or less.

Two architects in Tokyo have a different take; they’ll let you use 20 slides, but only allow 20 seconds each! That’s right, you’re done in 6 minutes 40 seconds. Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham are credited by Wired Magazine with creating “pecha-kucha” (peh-CHAHCH-kuh), and it has taken off as a creative art form.  Local venues around the world are embracing Pecha-Kucha Nights, where volunteers can present their creative works, concepts and ideas using PowerPoint in the strictly-timed format. Right here in Atlanta, it’s at Octane Coffee Lounge. Some events are even structured as competitions, with prizes awarded to the fan favorite.

Who could have imagined that folks would VOLUNTARILY go to a club and sit through one PowerPoint presentation after another??!!  Yes, PowerPoint may still be the bane of meetings and the crutch of choice for poor presenters, but it’s clear that in the right hands it can be a powerful and engaging tool for selling ideas and much more.

PowerPoint is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

© 2008 Paul Johnson. All rights reserved.

Posted: under Gaining Commitment (Sales).

Comments (0) Mar 25 2008

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The Top Five Traits of a Successful Salesperson

By Paul Johnson

855 words. Abstract: If you need to hire a salesperson, these tips will reduce your risk of making a bad hire. Learn how the author, a veteran salesperson and award-winning sales manager, filters sales applicants. Discover how to identify the candidates who not only CAN sell, but WILL sell – for YOU.

If you’re looking for a successful salesperson to hire — a salesperson who not only CAN sell but WILL sell — look for a salesperson with PRIDE.

PRIDE is an acronym for 5 characteristics that will help ensure that the salesperson you hire will get the job done for you and make the revenue results you desire a reality.

PRIDE stands for:

•    Proven
•    Respectful
•    Innovative
•    Decisive
•    Enthusiastic

Proven
Proven refers to the candidate’s track record. Have they delivered results? More importantly, who else says so besides them? As you know, resumes can be fact, or they can be fiction. How can you tell the difference?

A person who has been successful producing results should be able to provide you with third party proof. Have the candidate bring in their sales awards, including plaques, trophies and pictures from the trips they’ve earned. Have them show you the stack-ranked sales reports showing their name at or near the top of the field.

More importantly, what do their customers have to say about them? Can the candidate produce testimonial letters from their customers, indicating they were satisfied with the buying experience? Candidates should be able to furnish written recommendations proving that they were able to deliver tangible results.

Respectful
Salespeople should approach being Respectful from two positions. First, they need to be respectful of others. Careful listeners, these salespeople would never be regarded as pushy because they take the time to hear their prospects out. They keep their egos in check, remembering that everyone can make a valuable contribution in their own way and that other team members deserve respect, too.

Second, your salespeople need to respect themselves. Expect them to have a quiet confidence in their own abilities, and a strong desire to use their time, talents, and skills to produce optimal results. They’ll respect their health, physical needs, and family commitments, and as a result be refreshed, well-balanced, and ready for work each day.

Self-respect allows salespeople to be assertive, ensuring that they won’t allow themselves to be used as a doormat by prospects who want to waste their time or abuse a relationship.

Innovative
An Innovative salesperson is a problem-solver. They’re able to quickly assess a prospect’s situation, and then come up with an approach to help the prospect accomplish their objectives. Reactive salespeople need not apply. Proactive salespeople spontaneously look for ways to do the job better, to improve on past successes, to show better results even faster than before.

Innovative salespeople are easy to manage, because they don’t require instructions. They’re pretty much point and shoot; give them an objective to aim for, and they can creatively approach obstacles and move past them.

Because they are innovative, they tend to look at the world through fresh eyes, and hence have a good sense of humor. A willingness to be playful and funny is a good clue that you’re talking with an innovator. Good news! Your buyers would prefer to do business with someone who can make them chuckle and lighten up their day.

Decisive
A Decisive salesperson can make up their mind. They have effective critical thinking skills that allow them to rapidly size up a situation and decide how to best approach it. Decisiveness is truly important for a salesperson, for how can they expect the buyer to make a decision when they can’t make one themselves?

Decisiveness is often related to owning a clear set of key moral values. It’s easy for salespeople to consistently do the right thing when it’s clear to them what the right thing is. You want decisive salespeople who know when to walk away from a bad deal, and can separate good prospects from the time-wasters.

Enthusiastic
Enthusiastic salespeople have become a cliché for all the wrong reasons. Enthusiasm must be more than an induced rush spawned by a rah-rah motivational pep talk. If you want enthusiasm that lasts, you need to find salespeople who are eager to help your customers.

You want salespeople who are excited about what they do and how they do it, so their curiosity is stimulated and they are inspired to continually learn on their own. Enthusiasm comes from believing that you can make a difference, that you can improve someone’s situation when they do business with you.

Enthusiastic salespeople are motivated when they understand the strategy that will help them succeed, when they have access to all the tools they need to allow them to do their job and serve the customer, and when tactical training is available to allow them to skillfully serve the customer as well as the company. Enthusiastic salespeople have every right to believe they can win. And they do.

Hire a Compete Package
From the salesperson’s perspective, PRIDE is about feeling good about your job. It’s about believing in yourself and your ability to deliver. It’s about enjoying yourself, helping the customer, and making the most of your God-given talents and abilities. It’s about recognizing individual contributions and abilities while respecting the value of the team. When you hire salespeople with PRIDE, you, your salespeople, and your customers all win.

© 2007 Paul Johnson. All rights reserved.

About The Author:
Paul Johnson is Founder of ConsultativeSelling.com. He works with organizations like ADP, Nortel Networks and AutoNation to convert sales trouble into double and triple digit performance breakthroughs. Discover the application and definition of Consultative Selling at http://consultativeselling.com/

Note: This article is available for reprint at no charge. We only ask that you include our copyright notice in your reprint, along with the About the Author information we provide at the end of the article.

Posted: under Gaining Commitment (Sales).

Comments (0) Oct 23 2007

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Territory Management Tips in Selling Power

The September 2007 edition of Selling Power Magazine features valuable tips for sales people who sell within a geographic territory.

Sept. 07In “In the Details: 10 Territory Management Tips for Better Results” on page 34, I share strategies that I developed when I sold in a geographic territory by car. Here are a couple of my tips that you’ll find in the Selling Power article.

Divide your territory into four quadrants and assign a day of the week to each one, Monday through Thursday. Make calls in Quadrant 1 on Monday, Quadrant 2 on Tuesday, and so on. Use Friday as a flex day for catch-up, telephone work, and “emergency” appointments. Using this approach, you’ll spend less time in your car and more time in front of prospects.

Be careful about chasing so-called “hot” leads.  You want to book appointments with prospects on the days that you’re planning to be in their quadrant.  During your initial telephone conversation with a prospect, evaluate them against these 3 criteria:

  • Do they want what you sell?
  • Do they have the ability to effectively use your product or service?
  • Is there a compelling event with a time deadline?

Only if the answer to all 3 questions is “Yes” should you consider deviating from your quadrant planning.

Here’s a tip that didn’t make the article: buy a car with a sunroof. While you’re at an appointment, the sun can turn your locked-up car into a sauna. When jumping in and out of my car while making stops all day, I leave my sunroof open and the windows up. When I return to my car, the inside is no hotter than the outside temp, and it’s easier to keep cool between appointments. I’ve done this for years and no one has ever bothered my car (keep valuables out of sight, lock the doors) and no flyover bird has ever blessed my interior.

You can buy the September 2007 issue of Selling Power and other back issues at http://www.sellingpower.com/magazine/archive/. Currently, they’re just $5 each.

Posted: under Gaining Commitment (Sales).

Comments (1) Oct 18 2007