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