How, and based on what criteria, would you rate yourself or your sales team, on a scale of 1-to-10, as a negotiator?
One piece of criteria may arise from this follow-up question: How often, in a potential business deal, do you find yourself modifying your price, terms, or conditions?
THE GAP – Selling is getting your price on your terms and conditions. Negotiating is when you modify your price, terms, or conditions.
THE BUSINESS CASE – Recently, a company approached me to develop a pre-negotiating strategy with a potential new customer. Anxiety was in their voice, on their face, and in their mind.
“Tim, this is a big deal for us. We need this win and need it now to keep our investors at bay.” I began with validation for putting themselves in a place to win. However, anxiety is easy to read, and that would need to be investigated. They then quickly added context. “Tim, they told us we look good and are on the short list to win. They also told us that we’d need to make a significant reduction in our price to secure the win. Tim, we need this!”
Uh-oh. Danger Will Robinson. Anxiety is getting clear now as is the skill level of whom they are negotiating with.
The SECOND GAP – The buyer’s side is not an average, or savvy negotiator. They’re a Blackbelt. The people I’m advising do not currently recognize their negotiating skill, nor the buyers. I’m not sure they fully understand that this is a negotiating moment.
NEGOTIATING RULE – The person with the greatest NEED loses. Need is a source of leverage in a negotiation and the buyer here can tell the seller needs a win. Blackbelt negotiators can smell need a mile away. It gives them goosebumps, goosebumps of joy.
NEGOTIATING GUIDE – Empathetic listening can carry the moment. My client did not hear the buyer say, “We need you to make a significant reduction.” The evidence will show that they do not know what significant means.
THE ROLE OF CURIOSITY - When a buyer tells you they need your best price or they need a price reduction, their either negotiating, or they’ve slipped and revealed something.
A company that needs a significant reduction, I’m betting – is trying to play a game of Hot Potato with you. Their taking a problem they have and asking you to pay for it. They’re saying, “Our sales team isn’t very good, We can’t hold margin, close deals timely, and our service department adds little value. We’re asking you to go to our GoFundMe site and donate ASAP.”
Honor your business plan. Not theirs. A for-profit business needing a GoFundMe site to stay in business should be avoided.