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Negotiating Is Bad And Here’s Why

Negotiating Is BadNegotiating is bad. And here's why.

In selling, if you have to negotiate, it means you screwed up.

Somewhere in the process, you lost your prospect.

They don't see you as different.

They don't see how you could be different.

They are looking for the lowest price or best deal.

You might respond, "Aren't they always?" and you'd be incorrect.
Buyers are often looking for the best provider of whatever it is they're looking for, not the best deal or lowest price. A buyer who has stopped looking for the best provider is one who no longer believes there is a "best", and is now forced to treat their purchase as a commodity.

That's when they start trying to negotiate. When they view you as just another commodity.

Can you see how something has gone wrong when this is the case?

And since we, as the salespeople, are responsible for managing the sales process, it's our fault that our sales process has broken down.

Like Trans Fats, Negotiating Is Bad for You

Trainer Terry Hockenhull has some good points to make about negotiation in a recent post.

First, he quickly points out that companies wanting negotiation training for their salespeople are only asking for trouble. When the negotiation skills are used, they will actually cost the company money and not provide expected benefits.

Having to provide the customer a discount to get the order is not win-win.

Competing on price is clearly not a good strategy.

Yet as Hockenhull says, many salespeople seem to think that negotiation and providing discounts are a viable ongoing method of winning orders.

If you are forced to use negotiation as a selling tool, you know your prospect has spoken with other service providers who do what you do. They have gotten detailed quotes from them. You likely provided your own. This was a mistake. Now the prospect has lined all those quotations up. They've created a table, with vendors across the top. Features down the side. Prices along the bottom. What do I get for what price? Because the vendors are all the same anyway.

And that's when the prospect comes back to you.

"Company J is giving us X, Y and Z," they announce. "What are you going to do to make up for it?"

Oh no! panic the salespeople. What will we do? We have to give them something!

Mistake #2.

Not only did the salesperson commoditize themselves, but now they are ready to start throwing discounts, mock-ups, free plans and who knows what else that costs the company real dollars at the prospect in the hopes of getting the order. This is why negotiating is bad.

Even Though You Know Negotiating Is Bad, Here's What To Do If You Have To

Hockenhull makes a great point in his article: never, ever get into negotiation with a prospect unless they have made "a clear statement...that they actually want to buy my product."

Do NOT negotiate simply to negotiate! Just because someone asks you to dance doesn't mean you have to. Otherwise, you may just find your negotiated concessions have been taken back over to your competitor, whereupon the prospect presents your Christmas gift list to them and says, "Here's what Company K is offering...what can you do?"

Follow Hockenhull's lead and train yourself and your sales staff not to give knee-jerk discounts.

Negotiating is bad. Win-Win is very unlikely in this event: maybe, if you can recover the situation by clamping down some serious Up Front Contract expectations like Terry suggests...higher volume or increased frequency of orders in return for your concessions, for instance.

If you find yourself negotiating, remember you have done something wrong. Debrief the sales conversation afterwards to find out where the error(s) were made.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer. Was this helpful to you? Please Like, Share or Comment to let others know. And join us in Sales Tactics University to make more sales and win valuable prizes! <<

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You Choose Your Customers

You Choose Your CustomersYou choose your customers. Let me tell you that this is a mystery to nearly all small business owners. They're trying to get "everyone" to buy. And that is wrong.

If you believe "everyone" is your customer, you are not in control of your revenue.

You're also not in control of your business relationships.

"Please won't you buy?" is NOT the headspace we want to be in!

How You Choose Your Customers

Sandy Hughes of SCORE has put together a good article on sales performance. And where do you think she begins?

Quoting Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur:

"Entrepreneurs are often in ‘panic mode.’ They go after everyone rather than pursue a consistent customer profile. They don’t ask the right questions because they don’t know what those questions are.”

Michalowicz goes on to say that like every component of business, sales are systemizable. “The groundwork for that system is filtering,” he says. “Look for information and characteristics that differentiate good customers from less attractive ones."

That is about as clearly worded as I've seen it put.

And how do we get this information?

“Customers will share these things with you,” Michalowicz says. “And if you ask frequently enough, you’ll find these are the same issues prospective customers are facing. So you can apply responses across the board.”

Hmm. What does this sound like?

Looks like Mike knows about effective selling!

What Happens If You Don't Believe You Choose Your Customers

Sales is not about pushing features and benefits at anyone who will listen. Selling is about filtering. This is how you choose your customers. A consistent process of filtering, to separate people who have a problem that you can solve, and is big enough to be worth your attention, from those who don't. To separate people who value the unique or hard-to-find things that you bring to the table from those who don't. To separate people who will treat you nicely from those who have trouble playing well with others.

If you don't filter, you're leaving yourself open to the "I'll Take Anyone" approach. And that is a terrible place to be. No control. And possibly worse, no sense of control.

But either way, you choose your customers. By the default of failing to filter, and taking whoever you can get with whatever budget they've got, or by consciously, consistently and intelligently filtering undesireable prospects Out and qualified prospects In.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales trainer. Was this info helpful to you? Please Like, Share or Comment to let others know. If you want to learn more about this approach to selling, click here <<

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How To Sell More Girl Scout Cookies

Sell More Girl Scout CookiesYou should see the relentless marketing machine behind how to sell more Girl Scout Cookies.

I read a recent article that mentioned how well the Girl Scouts have mapped out their sales process. All those litte salespeople need training and support. And we all know they move a lot of cookies.

The Process Girl Scouts Have Mapped Out to Sell More Girl Scout Cookies

You can see what they're doing here.

They have a great page for tools like posters and banners to let people know the cookies are available. This certainly results in a consistent message to the target market.

However, the glaring omission in the site on how to sell more Girl Scout cookies is this is actually marketing. Nowhere (that I could find, at least) do you find what you should say.

I wondered whether this was a guarded secret. Something that is never written down but instead passed along in person, tribally, as I have seen with the ever-changing management and floor staff of call centers.

Direct From the Trenches - A Mom's Blog On How To Sell More Girl Scout Cookies

With a little digging, I did uncover a Seattle mom's blog about how to sell more Girl Scout Cookies. She does provide a door-to-door script.

Curiously, the script doesn't talk about the cookies, or the benefit of buying the cookies, or the taste of the cookies that the buyer will enjoy:

“Hi! I’m selling Girl Scout cookies! My goal is to sell x boxes of Girl Scout cookies to earn x. Will you help me reach my goal?”

Presumably the writer of this script has assumed the prospect already knows all about Girl Scout cookies. The script is all about tying the act of buying into helping the child achieve her bigger goal.

Now here's where things get really interesting from a sales process standpoint. Our valiant mom has a secondary sales goal! If the prospect doesn't want cookies, the Girl Scout's next step is to ask if they would like to donate a box to Operation Cookie Drop for the troops.

If they can say no to buying cookies from a cute little girl AND donating to our troops, they clearly have a heart of stone.

I love this.

Notice how it protects the self-esteem of the salesperson. If the prospect won't buy cookies from you, or donate to the troops, there is clearly something wrong with them and you can go ahead and qualify them Out with a clear conscience.

In Part 2 the following year, the mom updates what's working and what's not with personalized marketing materials. Her numbers are not statistically significant but they are data from the field.

If you're going to use a yard/bandit sign, make sure it's plastic and not poster board.

If you market with a magnetic car sticker, check that the font is readable when the car is moving at speed. This is a pet peeve of mine. Especially on billboards. I squint at tiny fonts and those in lousy color choices, and wonder: what graphic designer came up with that one? You can't read it. What a waste of money.

The Girl Scouts also have a mapped-out rewards system. Move X amount of cookie cases, win prize Y. And the prizes, of course, are relevant to the sales team's demographic.

Girl Scout Prizes

So my question for you today is: Are you as well organized for selling your product or service as the Girl Scouts are for selling cookies?

The alarming truth is that the Girl Scouts have it together far, far better than most businesses.

It's not rocket science. But you won't be able to sell more Girl Scout cookies unless you get your sales & marketing process together.

>> Was this helpful to you? Please Like, Share or Comment to let others know. Also, if you want the skills to achieve your sales targets, book a call with me! <<