What is the difference between prospecting and lead generation? How are they similar? How do your strategies need to vary with either approach? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Bill McCormick shares some strategies to help salespeople nail lead generation and prospecting. If you’re ready to take your skills to the next level—don’t miss this episode.
Bill points out that lead generation and prospecting are both activities that you do. They can be very similar in that respect. But a prospect and a lead are quite different. A lead is someone at the tip of the funnel that’s not yet qualified. They may not even end up being a part of the sales process. A prospect is someone who has been qualified. They’ve made it into the funnel. The bottom line? All prospects are leads but not all leads are prospects.
Bill also points out that lead gen happens very early in the process. It’s being able to take a quick look at someone—and based on your ideal client profile—determine if they’re going to make it into the prospecting category. Lead generation is all about lead qualification. Prospecting is about researching and moving the prospect along to the end goal of a sales conversation.
Bill is quick to note that each sale in each industry can be different. But he shares some key components anyone can focus on:
You must cultivate an ideal client profile: You need to have an idea of who you’re looking for. It will either help you qualify and move leads forward—or discard them. Once they’ve been moved into the prospect category, you must then determine the “who” and the “how.” The “who” is composed of the decision-makers.
Secondly, you need to focus on how you will authentically nurture the relationship with a prospect to move them along your funnel to a sales conversation. When people are prospecting on LinkedIn, they are starting with sales conversations. Bill emphasizes that you can’t do that. What do you do instead? Ditch the pitch.
Bill shares another solid piece of advice: ditch the pitch. Bill leads by providing value and insight to nurture someone along the sales funnel. Don’t lead with your solution—lead to it. He notes that it’s hard to do because you believe in your product and service. But when you pitch, you sound like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon. No one listens.
He was recently on a call with a prospect and shared some insight with him. His prospect said, “Hey, you better stop, you’re giving away too much.” But that’s exactly the way Bill wants it. He responded by saying, “Imagine what you’re gonna get from us when you’re working with us.”
Bill goes on to say, “Remember the end goal is to have a sales conversation. We have to earn the right to have that conversation by providing value‚and not by pitching.” Bill shares some of the key attributes he believes a salesperson needs to succeed with lead generation and prospecting. Listen to learn what those are!
Bill summarizes his top do’s and don’ts for everyone to follow to find success:
Bill shares a poignant story to drive his last point home—don’t miss it.
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Many people are familiar with the concept of time pressure as a negotiation tactic—but what about allowing time to lapse as a tool? How does the passage of time sway a negotiation and become a powerful tactic? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Jodi Cahn shares this powerful negotiation tactic and many others, including understanding and addressing a counterparty’s core needs.
Jodi is an experienced negotiation trainer and has taught KARRASS® Effective Negotiating for 20 years around the globe. On top of being a practice negotiation trainer, she is a Sales Representative with Solar Energy Partners in California. Don’t miss this insightful episode!
Negotiation is an exchange where two parties both want in, but there’s a gap that must be closed. It is about an exchange of values. There has to be a give and take piece to it. It is a critical part of business.
“In business as in life—you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate,” — Chester L. Karass
Jodi points out that we’ve got to be able to defend our interests and participate creatively in the give and take process. Nobody likes it when one side wins. Both parties have to be satisfied for successful relationships to be built that will last long-term and be fruitful. So you must be creative and adaptable.
Negotiation is a competitive game and in any competitive game, you make moves and countermoves. So you have to recognize tactics and be able to counter them. But you have to learn to move outside of the game and into a cooperative approach to build a relationship.
Jodi emphasizes that you need to think about the needs of the other party that may not be obvious to you at the outset of the negotiation process. Be creative and listen deeply to address the unspoken needs of the other party—and address them before the other party does. The better you understand their needs and the more specifically you can address them, the more likely it is that they’re going to feel taken care of by you. It forms trust in you when they feel heard by you and they’re willing to be flexible with you in return.
She shares the 10 core needs that you can focus on: financial needs, time, avoiding risk, satisfying organizational demands, avoiding extra costs, convenience, growth potential, reducing aggravation, status, and satisfaction with the deal. It has to do with something called psychological reciprocity. There's a level of psychological reciprocity that takes place between people when they feel heard and appreciated. You want to keep the negotiation in that framework and keep the relationship healthy.
One of the benefits you gain when you focus on and address their core needs? You’re limiting the other party’s options—but only if you can address those needs better than someone else can. Limiting their options gives you power in the negotiation.
Jodi shares some important attributes a great sales negotiator encompasses. One of them is the ability to be patient and realize that time is your friend. Our culture in the West is in such a hurry all the time. The benefit Eastern cultures have over us is their use of time. They aren’t rushing to get things done. Jodi so poignantly states, “With the passage of time, information surfaces. With the passage of time, the relationship deepens. With the passage of time, people become flexible.” The ability to be patient is critical—but often overlooked. Jodi shares a well-thought list of negotiation dos and don’ts that will leave you inspired, so keep listening.
Before Jodi became a negotiation trainer, she was in the film business. She and her partner had a script that we wanted to produce and were negotiating a deal with Lionsgate in the UK. When Jodi saw the terms they were offering, she thought they were absolutely terrible. She didn’t want to respond to it. In fact, the agreement was so one-sided that she chose not to respond.
After three weeks, Lionsgate called and asked for a response. Jodi couldn’t give in, she didn’t know how to respond. They waited for a total of three months. After three months, Lionsgate realized she wasn’t going to respond. What happened? They came back and offered a much better deal to move the film forward.
Jodi corrected the power balance through the use of time and got a deal she was happy with. The moral of the story? Time is a powerful negotiation tool.
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In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Philip Brown shares a few unique negotiation tactics and strategies that any negotiator can add to their skill set. Negotiation can be an uncomfortable process for salespeople, but if you employ some of the tactics Philip shares, you’ll be well on your way to becoming more comfortable with the process.
Philip Brown is the inventor of Negotiation Cards® and the founder and creator of The Negotiation Club Ltd. His vision is to help businesses hone their negotiation skills through Practical Practice Workshops—with the end goal to increase revenue, boost profits & improve services.
Philip sees negotiation as a problem-solving process, with a twist: “It's all about solving blockers and barriers to an agreement which could be on the table, but the twist to it is that although you're problem-solving, you're also trying to maximize your value from that agreement.” Negotiation is also a unique skill set that is important to the business. If an agreement doesn’t deliver a net benefit, then you’re in a weaker position than when you started. Negotiation skills are paramount to ensuring you’re always on the growth side of the equation.
From the procurement side of things—where Philip’s viewpoint is from—the first thing you do to prepare for a negotiation is to understand the specifications of what you want. Then look at market information and build an agenda you follow through the entire negotiation process. Continue to build specifications with internal stakeholders and understand their boundaries, who the decision-makers are, and what the approval process is. Philip points out that learning to properly use an agenda is imperative. You need to have an agenda from the very beginning and be updating it constantly throughout the negotiation
Philip emphasizes some things that successful negotiators do:
Philip believes that every single person has a different negotiation style. A ‘don’t’ for him may not be a don’t for everyone else, nor always the right thing to do in a negotiation. But one ‘don’t’ he recommends you don’t get emotional unless it’s on purpose.
Philip has a friend who’s an independent truck driver. He’s an exceptionally well deliverer of service and always reliable and trustworthy. Because of this, he was always paid more than the rest of the agency drivers. But then the firm increased the rates of all of the other agency drivers so their rates matched.
There was only one other driver who had been receiving a higher rate. The first man went to the agency and expressed his frustration. He asked for a higher rate and was turned down. Philip’s friend then went to the firm to discuss the issue. He was persistent with his request for a higher rate based on his experience.
The hiring agency asked if he’d split the difference with them and threw out a nice even number somewhere in the middle. Normally, Philip’s friend would’ve accepted the request. However, he decided to try a different tactic—and threw out an odd number that was slightly higher (and benefited him). The hiring manager was thrown off and agreed to the higher odd number.
Philip’s friend was tenacious and continued negotiating through discomfort. He wasn’t afraid to test a new tactic—and it paid off.
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How is negotiation a problem-solving process? What is the best way for a salesperson to approach a negotiation? Susan Borke emphasizes that negotiation is a problem-solving opportunity that arises anytime someone makes a request. And there are a lot of requests that come up in business—between vendors, suppliers, clients, and even internally within your organization. You have to learn how to handle those requests in a way that is beneficial to each party. Susan shares her thoughts on the problem-solving process that is negotiation in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Don’t miss it!
Susan Borke is the owner and Principal of BorkeWorks and has been teaching negotiating techniques for over 25 years. With a background in legal and financial administration, she has managed departments and divisions that included attorneys, paralegals, and other business professionals. She understands the needs of C-level executives and their employees as well as the pressures faced by creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Susan embraces the mindset that negotiation is a problem-solving process. She points out that an effective resolution solves all or most of your problems and all or most of your counterparty’s problems too. To achieve the result that you want—which is maximizing what everyone gets out of it—Susan employees a two-phase problem-solving process that provides a roadmap that is effective in any negotiation:
If you’re in the midst of a negotiation you need to be able to regulate your emotions. If you’re surprised or caught off guard by what someone says, how do you regain your footing? How do you diffuse the situation when emotions get heated? You must know your buttons as well as strategies to address situations when they arise
Salespeople often get anxious when they get to the negotiation part of the sales process. They fear hearing the word “no” or failing to negotiate effectively for their interests. Susan points out that many of the skills that serve successful salespeople are useful in negotiating. It all comes down to your mindset. Salespeople need to modify their mindset about negotiation. They need to employ new tactics but realize things that they already do can also be effective when they negotiate. Susan points out that “It becomes a virtuous cycle of being able to be more effective when they negotiate, achieving success, and then doing the same thing again.”
She also emphasizes that anyone can learn the skills to be an effective salesperson and an effective negotiator. The skills ARE transferable. At the end of the day, it’s about doing your homework—and listening attentively. Once you interact with your counterparty, the key is to listen more than you talk. You want to genuinely seek to understand what your counterparty is saying they need. You also want to be alert to what is going unsaid and be comfortable with silence. It comes down to creating a relationship of integrity and trust.
One key element of preparation is to understand what each part will do if they fail to reach an agreement. You must calculate the best alternative to a negotiated agreement, AKA—your plan B. You must engage in this thought experiment for yourself AND the other party. Susan believes it gives you an incredible amount of leverage. Not only does it illustrate that you've been thinking about them, but it also gives you a chance to weaken their BATNA.
Perhaps a sales manager has a reputation for giving an extra discount to an unhappy prospective client just to make the deal happen. A sales team who knows about his situation can go to them in advance. They can share the parameters with the sales manager and make sure he or she is willing to back them up. Or they agree that the sales director WILL grant a discount but it’s a pre-agreed upon amount that is part of the strategy. You want to make sure you aren’t losing your commission and the organization doesn’t lose profit.
Susan asks you to imagine a situation where you have two children and one orange (the children are NOT siblings). They both want the orange. How do you resolve the problem? Most people say the answer is easy: “Cut the orange in half.” So one child takes her half, peels it, and eats the meat. The other takes the peel and uses the zest and throws away the meat.
Each child lost half of what they wanted.
Instead, you must start the problem-solving process by taking the time to ask, “What are you planning to do with the orange?” This allows you to gather the information that enables you to give each party 100% of what they want. Susan points out that you can get so fixed on where you want to end up that you fail to see the needs we're actually trying to satisfy.
To hear more of Susan’s sage advice o n the negotiation problem-solving process, listen to the whole episode of Sales Reinvented!
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