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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: March, 2023

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

Mar 29, 2023

We are in a market where there are too many sellers and not enough buyers. And the buyers are armed with tactical information. So Patrick Tinney believes that salespeople need to take a strategic approach to negotiation. If they don’t have one, they’ll get smashed. And the key to a successful negotiation is preparation. He shares his strategies for preparing for a successful negotiation in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:04] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [1:42] The key steps you should take to prepare for a negotiation
  • [3:52] The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner
  • [4:48] Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes
  • [6:39] Patrick’s top negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [9:01] Remember that not every deal is worth winning

The key steps you should take to prepare for a negotiation

When you go into a negotiation, you want to learn about the team on the other side. You can do this by researching on social media. You also have to understand your counterpart’s culture. 

You can’t walk into a meeting with a Walmart Executive thinking you know who they are because you visited a store. Spend time on their website and get to know the organization. Learn about who has done business with them. 

Cost-model your work so you know what you can or can’t do. If you have to navigate quickly, it needs to be top of mind. If you don’t, every mistake you make will cost you. If you lose even part of a percentage point in a nine-figure deal, it can have a large impact. 

After you’ve finished planning, take your notes, and compress them into a small note deck with important figures highlighted. 

Patrick’s top negotiation planning dos and don’ts

Patrick shares a few dos and don’ts to be mindful of: 

  • Don’t think that you know the other side.
  • Make sure you understand their motives. If you want to get in someone’s head, ask them to share a vision of their career and life going forward. 
  • Don’t rush the negotiation. Practice things like meditation and dropping your jaw to remove tension. 
  • The other person wants a deal too. If they don’t get a deal done, they don’t get a bonus either. A collaborative state of mind moves deals across the finish line. 
  • Don’t take anything personally. It’s not a kidnapping or a hostage situation. You aren’t trying to solve world hunger. You’re there to progress a business forward. 

Remember that not every deal is worth winning

Patrick was negotiating a deal where he’d likely make between $25,000–$55,000. It had taken a year to get in front of the CEO and other C-suite executives. When he walked into that meeting, he realized he was facing a culture that was incongruent with anything he knew about business. 

They were running negotiations where they’d drag business in however they could at whatever cost. They were making huge mistakes. Patrick got through the meeting, went home, and crafted a proposal he knew they wouldn’t accept. He needed to walk away as if it never happened.

There are dream customers and there are those you should never do business with. If they don’t match your brand and who you are, walk away fast. 

Connect with Patrick Tinney

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Mar 22, 2023

Randy Kutz believes that negotiators are missing opportunities if they aren’t planning. Why is it so important? High stakes B2B negotiations take time. You have to build relationships. If you’re not prepared to negotiate and reach a successful outcome, the quality of the deal suffers. You might still come to an agreement—but it could have been better if you prepared. 

If someone enters an agreement they don’t like, they’ll look for every opportunity to kill that deal. If you stumble in your preparation, it may decrease the likelihood of future partnerships with your counterpart. If you’re not prepared, the power balance shifts to the other side. 

These are just a few of the reasons why negotiation preparation is a must. Randy covers the topic in more detail in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:02] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [4:50] The key steps you should take to prepare for a negotiation
  • [11:25] The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner
  • [14:34] Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes
  • [16:14] Randy’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [20:22] Preparing tradeables ahead of time helps you remain flexible

The key steps you should take to prepare for a negotiation

Randy believes there are obvious steps: Make sure you know what you want, what your positions are, etc. 

But the more pressing need is to take time to understand what the other side wants. We often make assumptions about the other side based on our own bias. Or maybe we’ve done business with them before. It’s okay to make assumptions but then you have to test them. What if you put yourself in your counterpart’s shoes and prepare from that side of the table? 

What are the underlying drivers? What are their priorities? Successful negotiators know that a negotiation is about trading. You want to trade low priority items off the table and exchange them for higher priority items. But you have to know what the priorities are. 

What are you willing to give up? What are you going to ask for in return for concessions? You have to be prepared to know what to ask for. If you’re not prepared, you settle for goodwill gestures. 

Lastly, Randy advises that you shouldn’t forget about your internal stakeholders. Negotiation is about the dealmakers’ ecosystem. The internal stakeholders are a value-add that can help you prepare effectively. 

The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner

An effective negotiation planner is someone who takes a systematic and disciplined approach to negotiation. They’re someone that uses a framework or template. This helps them identify their priorities and those of the other side. A good negotiator is prepared to adjust their positon and be flexible. If a strategy doesn’t work, a good negotiator plans an alternative

Randy’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts

These are a few things Randy wants salespeople to be mindful of: 

  • Budget enough time to thoroughly plan your negotiation. If you’re planning on a 15-minute negotiation phone call, prepare for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Leverage your ecosystem and involve internal stakeholders in the preparation. They have knowledge that you need to thoroughly prepare for your negotiation. 
  • Prepare a flexible strategy to avoid deadlock. People will disagree and say no. What will you do when that happens? Take a break, regroup, and come back to the table with adjustments. 
  • Don’t wing it, no matter how familiar you are with your counterpart. Apply some out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Don’t plan to negotiate only on the monetary variables. You need more tradeables. If you get stuck on one variable, whoever has more power tends to win. It won’t produce the outcomes you’re looking for. Plan what you want to ask for and what you’re willing to give.
  • Don’t leave assumptions untested. Ask questions to understand the drivers that underline the positions of the other side. Negotiation is an information game. 

Preparing tradeables ahead of time helps you remain flexible

Developers in New York City bought a building in hopes of rebuilding a high rise. But they had to negotiate four senior citizens out of the building first. They were able to reach a settlement with three of them for under a million dollars. But the fourth one fought back. This person didn’t want money. They didn’t need it. They wanted an apartment that overlooked central park. 

Working through the details took longer than planned because they weren’t prepared. In the time they waited, the person changed their position and also asked for a large sum of money and got legal representation. The developer ended up paying 17 million dollars to evict the tenant and still gave him the apartment overlooking central park.

You need to prepare for the fact that it isn’t always about money. Once you understand what someone really wants, be prepared to be creative and flexible. Had they done that, they could’ve saved a lot of time and money. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Randy Kutz

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Mar 15, 2023

If you go into a negotiation without preparing, you've already lost. You need to understand the other side’s objectives and know what your counters are. Doing so enables you to stay calm. Being overwhelmed by emotion is your enemy in any negotiation. The minute you get upset, you’ve lost the advantage. Mike Figliuolo emphasizes that everything hinges on doing the proper research. Hear his thoughts on the matter in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:39] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [2:19] Complete extensive research to prepare for your negotiation
  • [3:19] The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner
  • [5:05] Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes
  • [6:27] Mike’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [9:57] Preparation is the precursor to any successful negotiation

Complete extensive research to prepare for your negotiation

Do your research on your negotiating partner. You want to get to a solution that works for everyone. So you need to know what’s going on in their business. Mike has a major client that’s facing financial challenges and having to let people go. He knows they’ll push back on price.

If someone pushed for a price decrease, what would you say? You should also know when you need to take a break. It’s okay to leave the conversation, think about your response, and come back to it. Keep the emotion out of it. 

The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner

A great salesperson can look at things from the other person’s perspective. What are they going through, professionally and personally? You need to understand their business and personal objectives. If you’re dealing with someone who’s brand new, they’re looking to make a mark. They need to gain credibility. They’re going to press you hard in the negotiation to get an early win. 

We always think people will fight for price concessions. But that’s not always the objective. What goes beyond the financial metrics? Maybe they want a stable vendor relationship. When you can combine the objective's empathy for their position, you’re in a good position entering that negotiation. 

Mike’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts

Mike dropped some great advice:

  • Do your research and understand the company and the individual.
  • Understand where your boundaries are and plan them out. Where are you flexible? Where is your walkaway point?
  • Be realistic about your outcomes. Walk in with realistic objectives written down in front of you. It helps you focus on what’s important. 
  • Don’t stick to a fixed position in your mind. If you’ve decided you have to be at x dollars in a contract, it reduces the possible solutions you’re willing to explore,
  • Don’t make it about you and your ego. You can’t solely focus on winning, because it introduces emotions into the equation. 
  • Don’t pressure yourself to get a deal done quickly. The ability to walk away and say “I need to think about this” can give you an advantage in the next conversation with your negotiating partner. 

When we set an arbitrary time limit, it creates undue pressure. Mike points out that we’ve all bought a car. Why do you think the salesperson says, “What’s it gonna take to put you in this vehicle today?” They impose a timeline on you which reduces your freedom in the negotiation. 

Preparation is the precursor to any successful negotiation

Mike had worked with a major client for a couple of years. She was a Senior Executive in the Learning & Development segment of her organization, who answered to the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). She approached him to do some work and agreed on a dollar amount. But then the contract was kicked over to procurement. 

Procurement started pushing Mike on price and asked for a discount. Mike wouldn’t agree but the individual kept pushing him. At one point, the individual hung up on him. Mike was angry. He knew he was being baited to get emotionally involved. So Mike paused, called him back, and restated his position. Then he asked to get his contact involved. 

Mike knew that procurement had no idea who she was. So Mike called his client and filled her in on the situation. She said, “I’ll call you back.” Five minutes later, procurement called him back and said “Should I email the contract or fax it?” 

His contact explained to procurement that this was her top initiative for the year and it was her top deliverable to the Chief Human Resources Officer. The CHRO had a reputation for bulldozing over anyone in her way. She told him if he delayed it further, he’d need to call the CHRO directly and explain the situation. 

If procurement had done his proper research and understood the key players in the conversation, he would’ve known better. He didn’t do any research, which caused an embarrassing moment for him. You need to know who’s involved on both sides of the table. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mike Figliuolo

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Mar 8, 2023

As a sales leader, you want to prepare for every step of the process. Because negotiation is so far down the sales funnel, it would be a shame to be unprepared and lose a deal because you weren’t prepared. Preparation allows you to think strategically. It also makes you look professional. Someone’s business was important enough for you to take the time to prepare. So how do you prepare strategically? And what does it take to have a successful negotiation? Learn more from Kristie Jones in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:58] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [2:08] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [4:28] The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner
  • [6:50] Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes
  • [8:49] Kristie’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [11:42] You have to remain flexible in your negotiation preparation

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

When Kristie is talking to a sales leader, she has them focus on two things:

  • Do your salespeople understand the give/gets? Do they know where they have negotiation power? What is open for negotiation?
  • What is the cost of no agreement for either side? What will you lose—quota, commission? What will the other side lose? Maybe they need to find a new vendor or service. Maybe it’ll impact their career track. 

You need to write down these things. When sales reps do this, they’ll see that they’re on a more level playing field. 

The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner

If you’ve forged a relationship with a prospect or customer, you should understand their non-negotiables and where their buying power is. You want to make sure you fully understand their position. What are their concerns or problems? Look at contract language, pricing, timing, etc. Everything can be part of the negotiation. 

Self-awareness is also important. If you know you’re meeting with an introverted procurement person, you may have to slow down and focus on details. You need to understand yourself and how you come across. Once you do that, you can adjust your communication style to fit the other party.

Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes

Kristie asks people to sit down and draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and write down the costs of no agreements. She also has them write down what they’re willing to give to get what they want. So when a negotiation gets stressful, they can have their cheat sheets in front of them. Because when tensions rise and the stakes are high, people start to panic, which leads to bad decisions. 

You have to remain flexible in your negotiation

Kristie is dating someone who lives in another state and works where she lives. She knew that spending New Year's Eve together would be a challenge. But it was important to her. So three months ahead of the holiday, she shared she wanted to spend those days together. She wanted to kick back and watch football together the next day. It was a non-negotiable for her. She gave plenty of notice that the non-negotiable existed.

As the time got closer, and she knew that the negotiation would have to begin, Kristie sat down with him to go over her give/gets. She had them prepared in her head. She brought the topic up at a time she thought was appropriate. She asked what the plans were.

He shared the challenges he was facing, which she had already anticipated. So she shared some viable options:

  • She’d travel to his city (as opposed to him coming to her)
  • She’d give him time with the children and get a hotel room
  • She’d delay the start of New Year’s Eve

Negotiation is a process, not an event. She gave him time to think about what might work. Then they’d get back together and formulate a plan. They ended up deciding that he’d spend New Year’s Eve Day with the kids and spend the rest of the weekend with her. Everyone was willing to give a little to get a little. 

But what happened next? Listen to the whole episode to find out why flexibility in any negotiation is key. 

Connect with Kristie Jones

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Mar 1, 2023

Everything depends on preparation. When you’re in a negotiation, you’re under pressure. You need a good plan or all is lost before you start. Planning is often the most neglected part of a negotiation, too. Why? Because salespeople think they can’t plan because they don’t know what the other person will do. They want to go in and “See what happens.” Chris Croft believes that mindset is all wrong. You need a plan—just work in a few ‘what ifs.’

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:48] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [2:10] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [8:46] How to “be nice” in a negotiation when you dislike the other person 
  • [11:12] The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator
  • [14:43] Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes
  • [19:53] Chris’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [22:52] You can negotiate from a place of weakness and still win

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

Chris believes that there are four key categories you need to focus on: 

  • Your position: What do you want from a particular deal? Recommendations? Mentions on their website? Payment terms? Then you have to focus on things you can offer them that they deem valuable. Maybe they want free trials, more information, or to be publicized on your website. You need to think through alternatives and focus on your strengths.
  • Their position: What do they want? What do we think they want? What can they offer us? What are the things you can trade? If you have a list prepared, it’s far easier to throw out ideas that aren’t discounted. What are their weaknesses? When you think through their weaknesses, you will feel stronger. 
  • The numbers: There are three big numbers—the price you expect to get, your opening offer, and your walk-away point (the lowest number). You have to prepare all three of these numbers. The other thing you need to think about is the value of trade items. What if they can pay in one week versus 90 days? Assign a value to these things. 
  • The style: Always be nice, even if you dread or dislike the other person. You’ll get a better deal. But you must also be strong. Walk away if you need to. 

If you start by focusing on these areas, you’ll be well prepared for your negotiation. 

How to “be nice” in a negotiation when you dislike the other person

Your body language in the first 30 seconds sets the scene for the negotiation. So smile, shake someone’s hand, and look them in the eye when you walk into the room. Sit at a 90-degree angle so you aren’t confronting them. Don’t sit with your arms folded. Be relaxed and smiley. 

When you say you need a high price and they say they can’t afford it, don’t point out that they’re cheap or that they don’t understand your value. Instead, say “It’s difficult to get ahold of these things” or “It’s expensive to make this.” Or you could point out the demand for your product or service.

If you’re buying, don’t accuse someone of trying to rip you off. Just point out the reasons you can’t afford something. You blame it on yourself. It’s your problem—not theirs. 

The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator

Self-discipline is important in every aspect of sales and especially negotiation. Sit down, go through your checklist, and prepare. Secondly, you must detach from the outcome and avoid emotional involvement. You’re playing a chess game with your customer. Rather than panicking, think “Well that’s interesting, I didn’t expect that.” 

Salespeople think you sell, wait for the customer to say “I love it” and then negotiate. Chris believes that selling and negotiation should happen in parallel. You should negotiate from the start. 

You can negotiate from a place of weakness and still win

Chris’s mom saved a voucher for a free stay and gave it to Chris and his wife for a weekend away in Oxford. Right before their trip, they received a message from the hotel saying they were placed in a better room than planned, but they’d have to pay an extra 30 pounds when they arrived. 

So Chris decided to negotiate when they arrived at the hotel. So they drove to Oxford and arrived in the evening. When they went in, Chris pointed out that he wasn’t happy about paying the extra 30 pounds. The staff member apologized but said he had to pay it. 

So Chris said he wasn’t prepared to pay for it and asked to see the manager. His wife was practically kicking him. The woman said, “I am the manager.” So Chris pleaded one last time, prepared to concede. But the manager waived the 30 pounds. Chris succeeded. He was negotiating from a place of weakness—but so were they. The key was to focus on their weaknesses, not his. 

The moral of the story? He should’ve prepared his wife for the negotiation. 

Connect with Chris Croft

Connect With Paul Watts 

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