Negotiating tips: Competition and discounting

Negotiating tips: Competition and discounting

Most people's main fear when negotiating is that they will lose the job to the competition. I often hear reps complain that they can't gamble in a negotiation because the prospect will buy from the competition, or the competition are cheaper so I have to discount, or I can't risk losing the sale because my Sales Manager will go mental. I get the objections, really I do. But you're not going to win every sale. And frankly, you shouldn't want to as some of those sales are so anaemic and po … read more
Negotiating tips: The competition

Negotiating tips: The competition

It’s hard to get away from your competition. Clients will ‘thrust’ them in your face, telling you how great they are, how cheap they are, and how they’ll do what you won’t. All you need to remember is this one thing: If a client goes to the trouble of telling you about the competition’s strengths, they probably want to buy from you. After all why else would they bother? If they wanted to buy from the opposition, they would just do it (especially if the … read more
Negotiating tips: risk reduction

Negotiating tips: risk reduction

Most people live in a state of damage control. They go through life trying to ‘minimise’ the dangers when they really should be trying to ‘maximise’ the opportunities. This natural negativity is demonstrated differently in buyers and sellers. In sellers you will see an attitude of ‘it’s better to get less than lose the sale’. The salesperson will settle, discount, pitch low and backdown in order to get the sale. Sellers who live in a state of &ls … read more
Negotiating tips: gambling

Negotiating tips: gambling

One of the most underrated skills in negotiating is gambling. There's no reward without risk. The strongest position to negotiate from is one where you don't care if you get the deal or not. This gives the person on the other side of the table little or no power over you. Unfortunately most of us can't afford to be this cavalier as the deal is nearly always important, if not vital, to us. As such the art of gambling can be difficult to master, but it's still a powerful tool for any good … read more
Negotiating tips: The power of time

Negotiating tips: The power of time

Another of the key powers in negotiating is time. Basic rule is this: you rush you'll get less. This 'power' is probably more relevant and important nowadays than ever before. How often have you heard people remark about the speed of life nowadays? With everyone in such a rush it's very easy to find yourself trying to tie up one deal so you can get to the next one. Over my career it has been a constant challenge to get salespeople to stop rushing. To focus on the sale in front of them, n … read more
Negotiating: The power of paper

Negotiating: The power of paper

Following on from the last article, another power in negotiating is paper. What I'm referring to here is being organised and documented. You see people say a lot of things in negotiations that are purely designed to get you to do what they want to do. They'll use anecdotes ("The same thing happened to a friend of mine"), statistics ("I read that 78% of people experience this") experience ("The vast majority of my clients had this happen to them") and, let's face it, flat out lies ("The oppos … read more
How to be a better negotiator

How to be a better negotiator

There's no doubt in my mind that one of the reasons small businesses fail is an inability to market/sell their product. So many business go through the same curve: Market their product, get really busy, realise there's a lot of activity but no profit, put prices up, lose business, fail. Many of these failures could have been avoided if (1) the original business structure was better and (2) the people within the business were better negotiators/sellers. It's easy to give a product away c … read more
What is a win?

What is a win?

I read a lot of articles about negotiating / sales where the term win/win is invoked. We should seek a win/win resolution. It's only a good sale if there's a win/win. And so on and so forth. Now this is all good and well, and I certainly agree that both parties have to feel good about the outcome if there is to be a long-term, fruitful relationship. But here's my issue - what constitutes a win? All of the win/win promoters talk as if a win is a concrete, definable thing, but it's not. A  … read more
You reap what you sow

You reap what you sow

Ok, so taking a little diversion this week. As much as everything I talk about has lessons for selling and business built into it, this week I'm talking about parenting. Last week I saw a video on mindfulness which, if I wasn't such a schmuck I'd be able to add a link to (I did look for it, but my Google-esque hunting powers notwithstanding, couldn't find it). The gist of the video was, you reap what you sow, and if we don't start teaching our children mindfulness, and how to take care of th … read more
How to market a consulting firm

How to market a consulting firm

I have to say, consulting businesses are hard. After 20 years of running a creative agency (a consulting business itself) marketing consulting businesses can be hard. First of all, the people running the business either know it all, or know nothing. Second, they're time poor and tend to want to abdicate responsibility for the work, which frankly doesn't work because any good campaign is a partnership and the people in the business have expertise that is needed to effectively marke … read more