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Are you an efficient sales negotiator? If your proposals and your contracts are always the same number, then you’ve reached 100% efficiency. But that could also mean you are leaving money on the table, which is why the customer may have been so quick to accept.
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When you’re negotiating with a customer, how do you develop specific trading currencies? Think about a sale that reaches the proposal point. Often times, the customer might say, “We want to negotiate.” Very often, we’re thinking, “I have to lower the price to get them to agree to get to sign it, and hopefully my company will allow me to get away with a deal with this lowered price.” That, my friends, is not negotiating. That’s simply discounting. Let’s revisit the terms of this trade. Pretend that money wasn’t involved. What do you really want from the customer, or what are you willing to give up in exchange? Well, as we develop our trading currencies, there are four things that we want to consider: 1. What do you need? 2. What do you have? 3. Free 4. Unbalanced You’re going into a sales meeting, and you’re hoping to close the sale. What is your goal? Simply another sale? Well, if you’re a new salesperson to the organization, sometimes what you really need is a first sale. Without that first sale, you’re not going to get anything else. There’s a psychological barrier that prevents you from getting anything else until you finally acquire that first sale. On the other hand, your company might need the cash right now. So what you really want is not simply just a deal. You’re saying to yourself: “I need to get paid today.” Or “I need an account receivable today. Must invoice today.” Or “I need to be able to render a service now, because my people are available now. “ Or “My people are busy now, but three months from now, I expect them to be more free. It’s normally my slow season, so I want to think ahead and prepare for that.” You want to be as clear as possible. And you may want to even share that with the customer. You might want to introduce new ways of thinking: “What I’m really looking to do is not only do business with you, but I want you to introduce me to somebody else.” “I want to be considered for some other future expanded service.” “I want to avoid an RPF process.” “I’m looking to market my services to other people, and you can help me by agreeing to do a case study about the work that I’m doing with you. If we could do it that way, then I would be willing to give up something in exchange for that.” “I want market share, and I’m willing to give something up in exchange for that.” So the clearer we are in our own heads, the better we will be at communicating value to the customer, and the more likely it is that they’ll work with us to develop that trading currency we need. 2. Now, what do you have? Well, you always have two kinds of resources, and what we’re looking for are resources that could be valuable to the customer. You have resources in great abundance at the time of this negotiation or trading. What resources are these? Look at your arsenal of unused resources. We have knowledge, and what we know is worth money. We have experts willing to help right now, and they can do an audit. Maybe your customer needs an analysis or a delivery of a customized solution, which we don’t always make available, but could at this time because the resource is in abundance now, perhaps exactly at the right time. You may have cash now, so you’re willing to take on a deal where the customer will pay you on a future date and you can afford to extend the terms. This, in and of itself, becomes its own currency. Do you have the opportunity to introduce your client, or somebody who works for your client, to other people of value and interest to them? You might even have the ability to help your clients market their services through your marketing efforts, and through some of the webinars or speeches or the other kinds of marketing campaigns that you carry out. All of these become currencies. 3. Now, what’s free? What could you give to the customer at absolutely no cost to them? When you bundle a group of services together that includes one free thing, whatever it may be, your customer can no longer compare your services as apples to apples against any of your other competitors. So whenever possible, load up your bundled offer with a free piece. It could be consulting, coaching, or something that allows the customer to remove an expense. “We’ll do some work for you that you normally do on your own.” And in that way, we can save you time, resources, or money. 4. Finally, when you’re presenting your deal, you want to unbalance it. Give the customer a deal that looks so good they can’t refuse it. So I have had the occasion of saying to customers INSIDE MY HEAD, “What I really need is this amount of money right now in order for me to hit my goal, so I’m willing to give you all these other free services of value. In exchange, I want the contract today or the delivery of that service today. I have the ability to invoice you right now, and I’m going to make your side of that contract robust with extra added-on value, so that I can obtain what I want.” If you really think of it this way and you’re clear about what you want, and truly understand what it is that would be of value to the customer, you’ll be able to put together a deal that’s a win-win every time.