Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Single Most Important Rule of Sales Negotiation

Last night, while I was waiting for Battlestar Galactica, I was watching the Rachel Maddow. She was running down the intricacies of this Stimulus Plan and how it had been whittled down from a heavy but some-say-very-much-needed $900B down to a paltry $700B. She also pointed out that the Democrats were the original architects of the bill and in an effort to entice the Republicans, they stuck in a number of juicy tax cuts.

Over the past week, we saw Republicans in the House and the Senate ignore the tax cuts already in place and go straight to the spending side. They argued about big government spending. “Too much pork” they screamed. They pitched fits, waved documents around, had big flip charts, walked out of the room, and voted against the bill en masse to make their point.

A vastly modified and smaller bill is currently being debated in the Senate. As I understand the process, if the current version manages to squeak by, it will have to go back to the House and be bantered about again before some kind of deal gets brokered and this thing moves forward.

Now it doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, a Republican, a Liberal, a Conservative or even a Browncoat. Recognize that there is a wonderful sales lesson you can walk away with.


Tales From The Storage Front


When I was working as a system engineer for an enterprise storage company, my sales rep and I were working on a particularly large deal. After I configured the system, created the proposal and developed the price, she started suggesting…


...Discounts!

Against my recommendation, she went ahead with her standard 10% discount.

When we walked into our client’s office with our proposal, he immediately sharpened his pencil and went to work.

He said that he wanted to take certain things out. He wanted other items cheaper. He said that he could shop around and get the same equipment at a lower cost. He threatened not to buy. He stalled and said he needed to run it by his boss.

After all of his antics, he had this thing cut down to cost.

Needless to say, the sales manager did not sign off on it.

When you walk into your client’s office and you have that new proposal in your hand, count on your client sharpening their pencil and asking for reductions, discounts and preferred rates. And count on them beating you up with your competition. That is why when you are creating your proposal, look for every opportunity to provide unique value. Value that no one else can provide. That way, when they do hit you up with the “I’m gonna check out the competition” tactic, you can counter with, “Go right ahead. They can’t provide you with what we just discussed”.

And never walk in the door with concessions right out of the gate.

Just like my erstwhile sales partner, the Democrats need to come to grips with this very important sales lesson:

Don’t let your first proposed solution lead off with discounts or concessions.

No comments:

Post a Comment