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Sales Reinvented

We at Sales Reinvented are on a mission to change the negative perception of sales people. Each week we will be interviewing experts in the field of sales and sharing their knowledge, ideas and expertise with our listeners. They share with us in our vision of a world where selling is a profession to be proud of. The aim of our formatted show is to provide ‘snackable’ episodes that are short enough to listen to in one sitting but long enough to provide real value that will help you in your sales career. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.
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Now displaying: February, 2023

At Sales Reinvented, we are on a mission to change the negative perception of selling. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

Feb 22, 2023

level solution. What are their goals and aspirations for their company? How can your product or services help them achieve their goal? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Lisa McLeod shares why it’s important to focus on your counterpart’s highest-level solution—and how to do it. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [1:42] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [4:00] Why you need to identify your counterpart’s highest-level solution 
  • [5:45] The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator
  • [8:06] Tools and resources to improve negotiation outcomes
  • [9:38] Lisa’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [13:44] Why you should offer more value instead of lowering your price

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

If you’re planning a high-stakes negotiation, there are three things Lisa believes you need to do: 

  • Take a deep breath: That floods oxygen to your brain and helps calm your flight or flight response. 
  • Detach your solution from your aspiration: You aspire to use your offering to help the other side. Fear-based energy is not what you want in the negotiation. 
  • Identify their highest-level solution: It’s not about saving money or terms of services. It’s what impact they’re trying to have in their organization.

It’s easier to do this in the planning stage versus when you’re in front of your potential client. 

Why you need to identify your counterpart’s highest-level solution 

If you’re dealing with a buyer that says “We have to get this pricing on these terms,” it’s likely what they've been told to do. You want to ask them why. What are they trying to accomplish by doing that? They’ll share what their goals are. That becomes your starting point—not pricing, terms, and conditions. 

You want to start from a place of strength, which is the impact your solution is going to have on their business or life. It’s not about dominating them. It’s a shared stronger place to start. Start from a place of shared aspiration. 

The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator

Salespeople need to be open to what the client says or is trying to achieve. The most successful salespeople have a laser-like focus. If you’ve ever been in a conversation with a loved one and they’re not going to concede, it exudes a certain energy. You either cave to that energy or push against it. Openness creates openness. 

The other thing that makes a salesperson great at negotiation is their depth of understanding of the client. A seller that only understands their product, software, consulting services, etc., and doesn’t care about what’s happening with the client is coming from a weak position. When you understand what they’re trying to achieve and how they measure success, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. Your understanding makes you a better ally and partner. 

Tools and resources to improve negotiation outcomes

Lisa emphasizes that your client’s website is the #1 tool you can leverage. Why? You can read their “about me” page, read what their CEO said, etc. It allows you to learn the language of the company so you can use it. Which sounds better? 

“I’m so excited to talk to you about our software, we’ve got all these bells and whistles, it’s gonna be great for you—let’s get into the negotiation.”

OR:

“I read online that your CEO says that your #1 goal is to improve your customer experience. I’m delighted that we’re having this conversation today because this software is going to play a role in helping you accomplish that.” 

What are Lisa’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts? Why should you avoid caving on your prices? Listen to the whole episode to learn more! 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Lisa McLeod

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Feb 15, 2023

As a former procurement professional, Mike Inman can guarantee that procurement comes to the table with a plan. As a salesperson, if you don’t have a plan of your own—you’ll end up following theirs. You should know the tactics you want to use, who is going to be in the meeting, what your BATNA is, and you must set an agenda. Knowledge is power, and you have to leverage it. He shares his take on “opposition” research in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:59] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [2:06] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [4:09] The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator
  • [5:04] Don’t be afraid to leverage LinkedIn to do your research
  • [8:33] Mike’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [10:50] The importance of opposition research in a negotiation

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

What’s happening on your side of the table? For every deal point, you must have an open position target and bottom line. After you know what you can and can’t do, spend twice as much time on opposition research. 

This can even help you determine if they’ve already decided in your favor—or not in your favor. If you find out that you’re not their preferred solution for a product or service, you can stop wasting time and cut your losses. 

Lastly, get approval in advance. There’s nothing more frustrating than a salesperson that has to run things by their boss. Then you’re just an order taker. You’ll get abused. Make sure that you’re authorized to make concessions or close a deal.

Don’t be afraid to leverage LinkedIn to do your research

Mike emphasized that LinkedIn is a person's billboard. They choose to publish where they’re from, what they’ve studied, and what’s important to them. 

Mike just advised on a massive negotiation. He looked at the Director of Supply Chain’s background on LinkedIn and it was clear that he was career-focused. He moved up the ladder with every job he took. Mike knew that this gentleman needed a win to continue to advance his career.

So Mke helped them build a negotiation plan to make him look good in front of his superiors while protecting value on their side. 

Conversely, if someone isn’t sharing information on LinkedIn, why are they hiding it? You can build a psychological profile from this angle as well. If they’re not freely sharing information, they’re a closed person. You’ll likely have to ask more questions in the negotiation. 

Mike’s top negotiation planning dos and don’ts

Mike shares some to-the-point negotiation dos and don’ts that are spot-on: 

  • Schedule time to plan your negotiation. Get it on your calendar and on the calendar for whomever you need approval from.
  • Set an agenda for planning and don’t wing it. 
  • Negotiate the agenda with the other side.
  • Don’t wing it or you’ll lose.
  • Make assumptions. Make assumptions and test them with good questions.
  • Don’t forget your timeline. People make the biggest concessions if they’re nearing a deadline. Don’t schedule a negotiation near your deadlines or at the end of the quarter.

Knowledge is power: Why research pays off

When Mike moved to Denver, he wanted to rent for a couple of years to make sure he liked the area. They decided they wanted to move over the Summer, so they started looking in January. By February, they’d been outbid on three homes. 

So he set up alerts to be notified immediately when there was a new listing. One Saturday morning, a house came on the market that looked perfect. They showed up at the open house and it was perfect. 

After doing some legwork, they determined that the house was overpriced. They put in an offer $4,000 below ask with the stipulation that the sellers must accept or deny the offer by Monday at close of business. Monday at noon, they got an email that they won the house. 

But there was a huge mistake. The seller accidentally sold the home to two buyers. The agent told Mike that they were “aging” and “didn’t understand technology” and made a mistake. So Mike did some more research. Turns out, the seller worked for Cisco as a Government Contracting Expert. 

The agent lied to Mike. So Mike pushed back. The agent responded with their lawyer’s contact information. So what happened next? Mike unwraps a fascinating story that was only possible because he did opposition research. Listen to the episode to hear the ending! 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mike Inman

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Feb 8, 2023

Joanne M Smith believes that negotiation preparation in 2023 will be more critical than ever. Why? Because change is happening. We’ve been in an easy negotiation market. She points out that we’re looking at a potential recession where pricing power is going to shift away from suppliers and into the hands of the customers. That’s why she believes salespeople need to plan for tough conversations. Learn what that looks like in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:45] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [1:45] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [5:02] The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator
  • [7:16] Negotiation planning tools and resources to improve B2B negotiations 
  • [9:24] Joanne’s Top negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [13:27] Planning for tough conversations leads to negotiations success

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

The best economists believe that we’ll see a recession within months. When it happens, a salesperson’s job will become harder. You have to adjust your strategy to be fair in the economic conditions you find yourself in. 

Make sure you have a rationale for whatever your price point is. Does your industry fairly deserve more? Are you in a position where you can increase your prices? 

Your leadership must look at macroeconomics, supply and demand, and the cost of inflation, and give you crisp strategies with real talking points so you can have tough conversations. 

So how do you prepare for tough conversations in a negotiation? 

Ask yourself, “For this deal, what are the toughest questions that I’m likely to be asked related to my offering or to my price?” In many cases, the questions will be price-oriented. When you ask those questions, you know the data you need to prepare to craft a satisfactory response. 

The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator

A salesperson needs to be comfortable with tension and willing to respectfully enter into price discussions. They have to be able to guide the customer toward a better solution they might not be aware of. If you’re going to be confident, you must prepare. 

Joanne asks everyone she trains: How do you self-rate on price negotiation skills and confidence? 90% of salespeople think they’re great at sales and feel like they’re mediocre at best when it comes to price negotiation. 

She emphasizes that you have to take a step back and realize that you don’t know enough and start learning. Set up some frameworks to make it easy to prepare and effectively negotiate that price.

Top negotiation planning dos and don’ts

Joanne shares some great tips to keep in mind when you’re negotiating: 

  • Recognize that every deal you do isn’t done in isolation. Every deal sets up the future for you and your customers and the way your competitors respond. If you over-discount one customer, they’ll tell your competitors. So your competitors drop their prices. It creates a negative snowball effect.
  • Make sure you have a walk-away price. Don’t agree to a low price because it disrupts everything moving forward. 
  • Make sure you know why you deserve the price and can stand behind it.
  • Salespeople believe they have 50% or more price buyers that don’t care about value and will simply buy the lowest price. Don’t fall for that
  • If someone doesn’t want to pay your price, let them walk away. Or, take away some value to give them a lower price. 

Planning for tough conversations leads to negotiations success

Joanne was working with a global business in the construction space. They had a clear and fair reason to raise their prices over the last year. But their sales team wasn’t confident and was afraid they’d lose sales. Three different regions started training with Joanne. The European branch decided they didn’t need training. What happened? 

The three regions that completed the training got their price increases with high success and little to minimal share loss. The region that didn’t complete training had a 30% share loss in their largest country. Her workshop covered negotiation preparation. They prepared by practicing responding to tough questions. It goes to show that preparation will always be key. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Joanne M Smith

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Feb 1, 2023

It’s important to practice and train in football, basketball, or any other professional sport, right? Yet too many professionals discount the importance of practice and preparation. But if you don’t plan and prepare when you’re negotiating with a team, you’re planning and preparing for complete failure. A great negotiation is the result of great planning on both sides. Keld Jensen emphasizes that you must spend time preparing—more so than on the negotiation itself. Learn how he accomplishes this in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:47] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [2:48] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [5:50] The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator
  • [7:37] Negotiation planning tools and resources to improve B2B negotiations 
  • [9:33] Top three negotiation planning dos and top three don’ts
  • [12:55] Why a negotiation team needs at least three players
  • [15:08] Things to be aware of when negotiating with a team
  • [16:58] Don’t get caught in a negotiation you’re not aware of

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

Keld believes there are hundreds of steps one can take to prepare for a negotiation with a team, but names a few of the most important:

  • Take an interest in the counterpart’s interest. What do they really want? You’re not allowed to guess—you need to know. So ask your counterpart intelligent questions to understand their interests, values, and costs.
  • Who are you negotiating with? You’re not negotiating against a company—you’re negotiating with a person. You need to know who they are, how many people you’re negotiating with, and if they are the stakeholders that can sign the contract.
  • What variables do you want to negotiate? Delivery time, warranty, education, warehousing, transportation—there are hundreds of possible variables. Prioritize your variables. 

Negotiation planning tools and resources to improve B2B negotiations 

Keld uses a negotiation planner that is simply a schedule with columns. One column lists the variables that are negotiable. Then you take the starting point (i.e. a proposal) and calculate your negotiation wiggle room and the consequence(s) of using that wiggle room. Will you win or lose money? You need to come to a conclusion for every variable and the total cost or benefit. 

Why a negotiation team needs at least three players

Keld believes you should never negotiate alone. He recommends negotiation with a team of 2–3 people so nothing gets missed. It’s impossible for one person to do it all. 

When Keld pushes his clients and students to work as part of a team, many of them feel uncomfortable. You have to relate to the content, the case, the counterpart, and the people on your team. That requires discipline. A negotiation team should consist of three roles:

  1. The head of the team: This person takes charge and identifies the strategy and what should happen next. 
  2. A notetaker: This person is the one who tracks what’s happening and knows what’s going on. They’re the “memory” of the team. 
  3. A calculator: This is the person with a spreadsheet doing the math to calculate the impact of changing different variables. 

You have to coordinate who’s doing what so you don’t unintentionally give away something you shouldn’t.

Things to be aware of when negotiating as a team

Keld was helping a Norwegian agency sell a production plan to an Italian customer. The head of the Norwegian negotiation team was the Sales Director. His team consisted of himself, the Technical Director, and the Managing Director. They’d been negotiating for hours, discussing commercial items. 

Then the Italian counterpart pointed out that all of the manuals were in English and asked for them to be translated into Italian. The Technical Director jumped in and said, “We’ve already done that!” 

The real cost of translating the manual was €12,000 and he just gave it away. Why did he say it? Because he was proud of it. That’s why they should’ve discussed what he was and wasn’t allowed to say. He should have said, “We can discuss how much that will cost.” 

What is the most dangerous type of negotiation a salesperson can find themselves in? Listen to the whole episode to hear what it is—and what you should do when you find yourself in that negotiation.

Connect with Keld Jensen

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
https://www.podcastfasttrack.com

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