By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®
In relationships, many sellers are perceived as being subordinates to executives. Buyers enjoy many advantages in that they decide if they’ll talk with sellers, can stop buying cycles for any reason, decide whether to spend the money and pick which vendor they’ll do business with. In my mind, sellers exhibit influence without authority as it relates to buying decisions.
Unfortunately, sellers perceived as being subordinate are at a distinct disadvantage at the end of buying cycles when it’s time to negotiate.
- The road to being subordinates often starts in the first meeting if sellers feel the need to have buyers like them.
- They may also believe the buyer’s time is more valuable than theirs (“Thank you for your time today.”).
These two issues start sellers down the unfortunate path to becoming subordinates.
As an alternative, I suggest one of the objectives is for sellers to earn a buyer’s respect in initial meetings. In order to do so, it’s helpful for competent sellers to take stock of what they bring to the table as they:
- Are subject matter experts about their offerings.
- Have done business with many companies and provide wide industry perspectives.
- Understand business outcomes that can be addressed with offerings.
- Recognize there is no selling to be done unless/until buyers share desired business outcomes.
- Understand that they must uncover sufficient value to offset the cost of whatever offerings buyers are considering.
Buyers and sellers share the common desire of wanting to determine if offerings are a good fit and if sufficient payback can be realized to justify outlays. During buying cycles sellers can be viewed more as peers than subordinates. If they have established value, they should wind up in a better place when negotiating.