Relationship building is an important aspect of the negotiation process, according to Dr. Daniel Shapiro. Whether you’re negotiating with a prospective customer, negotiating with a spouse, or negotiating with another country—it all hinges on the ability to build a relationship. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, we talk about building relationships, attributes of a great negotiator, top 3 negotiation dos and don’ts, and much more. Don’t miss this one!
Dr. Daniel Shapiro is a world-renowned expert on negotiation and middle-east politics. He was the US ambassador to Israel from 2011–2017. He also founded and currently directs the Harvard International Negotiation Program. Dan consults regularly for government leaders and Fortune 500 companies and has advised everyone from hostage negotiators to families in crisis, disputing CEOs to clashing heads of state. He is also the author of two best-selling books, Negotiating the Nonnegotiable and Building Agreement: Using Emotions as You Negotiate.
The common misconception of negotiation is that it’s just one part of the sales process in which costs are debated. The reality is that the entire sales process is a negotiation. Anytime you interact with someone else with a purpose in mind you are negotiating. Most salespeople love their jobs and it’s simply one part of the process that brings them more stress. How do we change that?
Dan states that you must change how you view the negotiation process. Firstly, you must focus on building a relationship with the customer. Many salespeople naturally excel in relationship building. Secondly, you must listen with intent: Figure out what your counterpart actually wants and where their interests lie.
The process doesn’t have to encapsulate an “us against them” mentality. You should present options for mutual gains and invent new ideas with the customer. Be innovative with your approach so they don’t move on to the next salesperson.
Dr. Dan emphasizes throughout the episode that relationship building skills are key. The first pillar that he sets forth is all about building the relationship. Building a relationship is your greatest source of influence now AND into the future. The more you can build a good trusting relationship with some sense of connection the more effective you will be in the negotiation process.
Per Dan, “The most effective negotiations by and large—in the business realm and the international realm—are side by side. They are cooperative.”
Conversely, no salesperson is in it just for the relationship. They are also motivated to make a good sale. Aside from building a relationship with the prospect, you need to be keenly aware of their interests. What’s motivating their behavior other than getting a good deal? Are they hoping for a promotion? Is their budget quite low? Dan acknowledges there could be 1,000 different reasons—but it’s your job to find out what those reasons are.
With the foundation of a relationship and the knowledge of what motivates them, you can work to craft a potential agreement that meets their interests—and yours.
A great negotiator is an avid listener. They learn what their counterpart cares about, what they want out of the relationship, what they’re fearful of, and what they’re dreams and aspirations are. They don’t listen to exploit, but they listen to craft an agreement that works for everyone. You must remember that your counterpart wants the freedom to make decisions without it being imposed on them. They want autonomy.
Dan first became aware of this concept when he was a teenager shopping for jeans at Gap. The slightly older teenager assisting him was showering him with compliments and telling him how great he looked in the jeans. Dan realized he couldn’t decipher if the compliments were real—or just being used to make a sale and therefore a commission for the pushy teenager.
Instead of pushing someone into a sale, allow them the autonomy to make their own decision. Share the attributes of the product, why it meets their interests, and why your pricing is fair while allowing them the freedom to walk away. If they can find a better deal with someone else, then let them know that you won’t stand in their way. Doing this builds trust in your customer relationship. Having their best interest in mind speaks volumes.
Dan believes that the power of appreciation is the single most important thing to apply to a negotiation. He emphasizes that in ANY human interaction we want to feel heard, understood, and valued—appreciated on a deep level. Yes, you want to come to a deal, but deals don’t happen on an emotional level if the other side doesn’t feel appreciated and respected. It’s more than a thank you. It’s listening to try and find value from their perspective. To find merit in what they’re feeling, thinking, communicating, and understanding.
It isn’t an adversarial or antagonistic approach, but one bent on understanding their perspective and shifting into their seat on a psychological level. If you can truly understand their perspective and appreciate where they’re coming from, it can change the course of the negotiation. Dan shares a powerful negotiation story about how cooperation and understanding in a negotiation lead to more effective outcomes. Listen to the whole episode for more of his negotiation expertise.
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Do you view negotiation as a conversation? Or a battle with clear winners and losers? Nicole Soames joins me in this episode of @SalesReinvented to start the conversation surrounding negotiation—and reveal why so many of the mindsets salespeople have regarding negotiation are faulty. She shares common misunderstandings, how to prepare for a negotiation, and much more.
Nicole Soames is the CEO & Founder of Diadem Performance, a commercial skills training and coaching company. She is passionate about applying emotional intelligence to negotiation conversations. Nicole is a best-selling author and sought after coach whose savvy advice is revealed in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Be sure to listen!
Many salespeople mistake negotiation for haggling or bartering. If you shift your viewpoint to negotiation as a conversation, you’re better equipped to build a long-lasting relationship. People are only as powerful as the conversations they have. Nicole believes we achieve results based on the conversations we have with others. Everything is negotiable—but you can only receive if you first ask.
Another faulty misconception is that salespeople are schooled in the philosophy that the customer is always right. So when they enter a negotiation conversation, they have placed the customer on a pedestal. By doing so, they cede control and power to the prospect and end up paying dearly for those relationships.
Salespeople are usually engaged with a procurement person—who is well-versed in negotiation tactics. Because each of these people are leaning on their learned skills, a negotiation conversation often ends in disagreement, deadlock, and disappointment. What is the easiest way to avoid that? Keep listening to find out!
Most people who have received negotiation training are taught that it’s a process—it’s linear and theoretical. Nicole is quick to point out that it shouldn’t be viewed as a process but as a negotiation conversation. Thinking about it as a conversation changes the way you engage in the negotiation. You should approach your conversation by contemplating answers to these questions:
Why should I feel confident? What will their challenges be? How will I handle them? Am I exhibiting an appropriate level of ambition? How will I break the deadlock?
Approaching your conversation with emotional intelligence is the largest differentiator and competitive advantage that Nicole can see. You must remember that you’re negotiating with a human. There is a real person on the other side of this conversation. It’s why Nicole advocates for face-to-face communication whenever possible (versus email).
There are no shortcuts. Preparation for a negotiation is paramount to its success. One unique tactic that Nicole recommends is to “big yourself up”: write down all the reasons you should feel confident in the negotiation conversation. Build yourself up and read it to yourself. Don’t allow yourself to fall trap to inner conversations that say things like “They won’t say yes” or “Everyone is having a difficult time right now”.
Secondly, you must prepare for any curveballs that may come your way. Nicole emphasizes that forewarned is forearmed. And while you want to prepare for variables, she believes that you should NOT prepare a walkaway point. Doing so is admitting defeat and claiming that it’s okay to fail. Nicole believes that you get the best results when you’re challenged and under some pressure. To hear Nicole’s top negotiation 3 dos and don’ts and her ‘ABC method’ keep listening!
Nicole admits that children are expert negotiators. What makes our children SO good at negotiation? Think about it—children are relentlessly ambitious. They use every overt tactic in the book and wind parents down until they get what they want. “All of my friends have this” or “All of their parents allow that” is a very effective strategy. Nicole admits she smiles every time she sees her children negotiating with her. They are ace negotiators and we can learn a lot from them.
Talk about some unique insight. To hear the rest of Nicole’s thoughts on viewing negotiation as a conversation, be sure to listen to the whole episode!
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Keld Jensen—today’s guest on the Sales Reinvented podcast—feels that many businesses struggle with the negotiation process because they aren’t focused on a collaborative negotiation. Unfortunately, they embrace the mindset of ‘needing to win’ at all costs and focus on squashing the competition. Keld shares WHY this is the wrong mindset to embrace and what a collaborative negotiation should look like. Don’t miss it!
Keld Jensen has over 30 years of experience in negotiation. He is the founder of the SMARTnership negotiation strategy—THE most awarded collaborative negotiation strategy in the world. Keld has written and published 24 books in 36 countries. He runs a consulting and training organization that works with governments and businesses around the world to change how they engage in negotiations. Don’t miss his years of expertise—listen to this episode now!
Negotiation isn’t just about reaching a mutual agreement, but about improving collaboration. Keld points out that it’s not about winning something at the cost of the counterparty. The great negotiators don’t set out to be great, they set out to make a difference for their counterpart.
Negotiation is important because revenue isn’t created without it. The second you have to interact with another organization it requires negotiation. Embracing a collaborative negotiation strategy is just as important as a market strategy or a research and development strategy.
Yet many negotiators rely on out-dated tactics that are about winning at all costs. Listen to hear how Keld seeks to change the world of negotiation.
Keld believes that salespeople don’t necessarily hate the negotiation process, but that they’re “unconsciously incompetent”. They don’t know how to properly negotiate. But once they understand the concept and the value negotiation creates it changes their viewpoint. The 1st mistake salespeople make when negotiation is that they don’t prepare.
A step that Keld believes is imperative is to negotiate on how to negotiate with your counterpart. You can’t walk into a negotiation thinking you’re playing a game of chess when your counterpart believes they’re playing tennis. So how do you remedy that? Keld recommends having a pre-meeting with the sole purpose of learning how to negotiate together.
If you take that small piece of time to make sure you are on the same page in the negotiation process, it removes wasted time. You’re setting the rules for the negotiation to follow and it transforms the process.
Keld believes many negotiations fail because too much time is wasted arguing. Too much time is spent on claiming why your product is superior. You must eliminate argumentation and product promotion and instead spend your time listening. Listen for what’s in-between what they’re saying.
If the prospect asks you if you can deliver a product 2 weeks early, instead of immediately giving a yes or no answer ask: What is the value to you if I can move up delivery time? You need to think about their values and interests in every part of the process.
Keld says to consider the question: “Are you willing to take a cost if the benefit to the counterpart is bigger than the cost and if the counterpart is willing to compensate you for that cost?” It’s all about figuring out who has the higher value compared to the lower cost.
Many negotiators embrace “zero-sum” tactics—which is winning at the expense of your counterpart. Instead of landing on a zero-sum strategy, Keld believes you should aim for a high-level collaborative partnership instead. His collaborative negotiation strategy is all about showing a genuine interest in your counterpart and building a relationship.
Keld also points out that up to 42% of the value in a negotiation is often left on the table. To avoid that, you must establish the NegoEconomics—the difference between your value and my cost. This needs to be calculated before engaging in the negotiation process.
A collaborative negotiation process must involve transparency, openness, and honesty. If you’re honest, you will always leave the table with better results while generating a higher level of trust with your counterpart. If you generate a high level of trust, it reduces transactional costs, and profit tends to increase.
Keld shares his top 3 dos and don’ts as well as his favorite negotiation story in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Listen to the end to soak up all of the value he has to offer.
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Are you aware of how buying personalities influence the negotiation process? And that each different personality changes the direction of your negotiation process? In this episode of the Sales Reinvented Podcast, Sonia Dumas joins me to talk about how buying personalities influence negotiations.
Sonia Dumas is the Financial Sales Expert with The Sales Experts Channel, a Cryptocurrency Strategist, and a Certified & Licensed B.A.N.K® Trainer. Sonia emphasizes the importance of understanding buying personalities and personality science in the sales negotiation process. Don’t miss her unique insight!
Salespeople don’t love negotiation because they have to do elevator pitches, create countless proposals, answer endless questions in endless meetings, create marketing campaigns, and can chase down indecisive prospects for months. Sonia points out that instead of trying to find new sales tactics, you should focus on fixing your mindset.
What if salespeople stopped calling it ‘sales’ and started calling it ‘influence’? Wouldn’t everyone like to be more influential with their company, clients, prospects, and network? Influence isn’t just a sales tactic, but the fastest path to cash. Sonia also points out that the most effective way to be influential is to know how your clients and prospects make emotional buying decisions.
Sonia is all about making complex situations simple. Figuring out your prospects ‘buying personality’ or ‘buying code’ should be your first step—that you complete well in advance. There are four main buying personalities: assertive, amiable, expressive, and analytical. It’s far easier to influence people who make buying decisions just like we do.
However, you must strive to understand the buying language of the other personalities. Once you understand their buying personalities, you can create an agenda and presentation to match their buying personality. You must focus on what’s important to them and tailor thenegotiation to what they need to know AND what they want to hear. This is Sonia’s #1 suggestion to shorten the cycle and get to more yeses.
How can you determine a prospect’s buying personality? Sonia shares that ‘Crack my Code’ is what she uses to quickly determine buying personalities. A simple 90-second process for the prospect can change the way you negotiate.
This is the typical strategy that Sonia follows to prepare and execute a negotiation:
Per Sonia: “On some deep emotional level a prospect has already said yes to meeting you, yes to reviewing your information, they’ve said yes to involving other stakeholders, yes to revealing their buying code, yes to their emails and the phone calls you’ve made up until now...You have more yeses on your side than you do nos.”
Implementing a strategy based on their buying personality sets you up to create a relationship with a prospect—the revenue will follow.
As Sonia shared her lists of ‘dos and don’ts’ she emphasized that you must not come across as needy, desperate, or inferior (or what is referred to as “commission breath”). Prospects can sense that you NEED their business—which gives them the power and leverage in the negotiation. Instead, you must communicate confidence and level the playing field.
Sonia implores you to focus the conversation with their buying personality in mind. Focus on what is high-value to them while also communicating confidence in your own products and services. They need to understand the massive value that you bring to the table. Providing them with a transformative negotiation experience will be a gamechanger.
Listen to the whole episode for our in-depth discussion on buying personalities, the negotiation process, and Sonia’s favorite negotiation story.
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Negotiation preparation contributes to 90% of the success of a negotiation, according to Scott Chepow, today’s guest on the Sales Reinvented Podcast. The better prepared you are before the negotiation commences, the smoother the process will be, and the likelihood of a successful outcome is far higher. To hear more of Scott’s thoughts on negotiation, listen to the whole episode!
Scott Chepow is the Senior Vice President of Engagement Strategy for The Gap Partnership in North America. He works with some of the world’s largest organizations to help them create incremental value through negotiation. His 20+ years of experience in the industry is a welcome addition to this podcast. Don’t miss his take on the negotiation process!
Negotiation in its simplest form can be described as a buyer wanting to buy and a seller wanting to sell. But Scott points out that it’s far more complex. According to him, negotiation “Orchestrates the creation of value for your organization beyond the sale of your products and services.”
Every organization has its own priorities—such as capturing more pricing or increasing distribution—that goes beyond the role of price within a construct of a sale. Businesses work diligently to define their drivers and set their priorities. Scott emphasizes that “The ability to negotiate within those drivers to achieve those goals is paramount.”
Many salespeople dislike the negotiation process because it’s uncomfortable. So they seek to alleviate that discomfort by rushing through the process. But in reality, the best way to overcome that discomfort is to embrace it: get comfortable being uncomfortable. A negotiation will never go smoothly, so you need to understand the risks that may arise.
You can mitigate or even prevent those risks with proper negotiation preparation. 90% of the process is strategic preparation for the negotiation. The other 10% is execution and how you behave in the room. To strategically prepare you must understand the people, the nature of the relationships, and the balance of power. Want to hear more? Keep listening!
Scott references 14 essential behaviors of a negotiator that you should master. One of them is learning to think clearly and manage discomfort. If you master those skills, you can adapt to any negotiation you walk into. But that takes preparation, research, practice, and learning to understand the variables at play.
What’s important to you? What’s important to your counterparty? What are their pressures and priorities? You have to plan which direction you’ll take when things go wrong. If you have an action plan in place when variables DO arise, you know what to do and are confident that you’re prepared to deal with any realities that arise.
As you’re engaging in negotiation preparation, you must understand what type of negotiation you’re walking into and subsequently exhibit the appropriate behaviors. Scott states there are 8 fundamental types of negotiation and uses a clock face to demonstrate: As you work your way from 12-6 on the clock face you’re either bartering, haggling/bidding, hard bargaining, or dealing.
As you move further around the clock, the relationship deepens as you work through concession trading, finding a win-win, focusing on joint problem-solving, and building a relationship. Different factors dictate where you are on the clock face.
The level of dependency between the parties, the length and strength of the relationship, the level of trust, and how many variables are at play all move you further around that clock. If you’re in the haggling/bidding phase your behavior tends to be more aggressive, cold-hard, and dismissive. Scott points out that this is likely to be a one-off transaction.
However, if you’re in the “win-win” phase you are looking to be cooperative, collaborative, honest, open, and flexible. This is when you want to deepen the relationship and find a profitable and sustainable deal for both parties.
To hear more about this process, the importance of negotiation preparation, and Scott’s favorite negotiation story—listen to the whole episode now!
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