In Part 1 I asked, if, as a salesperson you reacted to pressure by showing desperation. In this the second and concluding part of the article I will address some additional techniques that should be used to thwart any form of desperation.
Some common “must have answers” for any sale should include the following:
- Does a need really exist?
- What are the business drivers and motives of this need?
- Does a budget exist that supports these?
- What is the timeline for purchase?
- Do you have explicit knowledge of the buying process? (See the second bullet point)
Unless you know these, your process is flawed from the beginning and puts you at a disadvantage. Once you arrive at a point in the selling process, a very valuable tool to differentiate yourself from the competition is to draft and write a deliverable document to the executives and team members. This serves several purposes: 1) Furthers your relationship within the company (insider advantage), 2) Those that respond are usually your allies, 3) The deliverable usually triggers a reaction related to the competitor(s) and allows you to counteract early, 4) Achieve an upsell if the document widens the scope of the project, but only, if there is value and investment is justified.
If the sales process appears to be lagging for no apparent reason, simply ask if the urgency has diminished or that there was no real urgency in the first place. This allows the opportunity for customer to reveal the timeline changes to you. It also gives you the opportunity to present real dollar figures about how much not buying your solution is costing them.
Another important area to be aware of is the CxO’s time frame. In other words, if you truly have executive sponsorship and that relationship is solid, use that time line for planning, not yours.
Those that know me know I do not believe in unilateral concessions. If your client starts early about concessions, push them off until the end. A lot of salespeople see this as an opportunity for an early close; don’t fall for it, it is a trap. It also shows you to be desperate about the sale. Set the stage early on concessions. An article I wrote describes the re-negotiating tactics for those customers that demand concessions.
This last piece of advice to avoid projecting desperation is to fully plan for the type of negotiations you will encounter. The scope of this article is not long enough to cover the topic, but make absolutely sure you understand what is and is not important to the client. From that point you can plan your negotiation strategy. It is unfortunate, but I have witnessed sales managers that have no clue about the art of negotiation. It is not all about getting the sale, rather it is allowing them to buy and they walk away with the perception they have the best deal.
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Another great article, Ed. As a consultant, I can see the same rules apply for closing a consulting agreement. I totally agree with you about pushing the concessions off to later. It is very important to highlight best value rather than best price.