By Frank Visgatis, President & Chief Operating Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
On a recent flight home returning from vacation I picked up the magazine from the seat back in front of me. While flipping through it, I noticed directly in the middle an advertisement for a two-day negotiation skills seminar. As I perused the agenda, the thought occurred to me that if it takes you two days to learn how to negotiate, you probably didn’t sell the deal the right way to begin with.
Unfortunately, for many salespeople and sales organizations, the “close of business” is an artificially large event in the sales process filled with anxiety and a certain level of “dread” on both sides of the table. Moreover, this is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy and worse, a self-inflicted wound on the part of salespeople.
Why does this happen?
In all likelihood, it’s because something was missed as part of the sales process. In other words, the salesperson likely rushed through the early stages of the sales process in order to meet an artificial deadline, usually one tied to the end of their month or their quarter.
What typically gets missed? It could be any of a number of things:
- the true business driver was never identified;
- there was no clear vision on the part of the buyer that the capabilities the seller could bring to bear would help them achieve whatever the desired business outcome is;
- no “unique” business value was established as part of the process and as a result, the seller’s offering is viewed as a commodity and now price is the only variable;
- the true decision maker was never identified as part of the sales process and now the salesperson is relegated to “negotiating” with someone who may not even have the ability to buy;
- there was never a mutual understanding as to the desired timeline of the prospect so the salesperson imposes that artificial deadline tied to his/her own month or quarter end.
While this is, by no means, a complete list, it is a good place to start.
The reality of the situation is this: The quality of the job that the salesperson does throughout the sales process will dictate the ease or difficulty of negotiation at the end of the process.