This week, we are going to focus on negotiation. I am hoping that the 435 Congressman, 100 Senators, and the Executive Branch pay attention to what I am writing about because, what I see are hundreds of officials floundering and chest pounding, but no one is doing a reality check. Just look around you and you’ll see at least a dozen examples every day of the worst ways to negotiate. This whole “fiscal cliff” thing that is going on in Washington DC, shows the inadequacies and unprofessionalism of our elected officials.
This “fiscal cliff” negotiation is unprofessional because people on both sides think they have a mandate to win at all costs. Why is this wrong? Let me give you some real life examples in business that can highlight my points.
Let’s say that you are competing with another supplier to win a piece of business for the future. You’ve put together presentations, quotes, meetings, and did everything to communicate your needs, wants, wishes, and capabilities to your prospect. In essence, you’ve been campaigning to win an opportunity. At some point, there is a decision made to go with your firm, and you sit down with the champion at your new customer, and they say something like this;
“Mr. Jones, your presentation and capabilities are exactly what we are looking for in a long-term partner. As you know, we are the largest type of ____ business in the world, and we are looking forward to working with you. We’ve heard about all your capabilities and your policies, now we are going to let you know what our specific requirements are.
Here is a table of differences we need to come together on in order to go forward, I’m sure you won’t have any issues accepting our position, and closing these gaps so we can move on:”
|Your Companies Proposal||Our Requirements|
|Net 30 Payment Terms||Net 90|
|24-week Tooling Terms||12-weeks|
|Progress payments||100% of payments after completion|
|Products are shipped on customer account||Supplier pays for all freight and duties|
Now, you are flabbergasted … you have just spent months communicating what your positions were, and your capabilities. The customer SELECTED you to move forward with. This must have meant that they agree with 100% of your proposals right? Now they come, after you have laid out all your cards on the table, and they have their own set of requirements or they can’t work together? This is where negotiation comes in, and also salesmanship.
During your campaign, did you once ask for validation of your terms? Did you ever get any indication that your entire proposal (commercial & technical) were being accepted?
I see the same problem going on in Washington DC today. Over the past months (years), these politicians believed we voted for them and agree with 100% of their proposals, but not once did they ever ask the buyer what they truly expected once we selected who we wanted to work with in the future.
As a sales professional, you need to always search for a win-win. In my crude example above, there are things that are throw aways in a negotiation, and there are core principles. It needs to be clear to both parties, what the core principles are. If your company is cash strapped at the moment (as most are), then having extended terms or no progress payments, are not going to be accepted. Your customers promise about being the largest in the industry only looks like a larger Accounts Receivable file to your CFO.
The lesson here is twofold; negotiations are ongoing, even after a handshake. There are commitments along the way that need to be made in order to avoid situations like the above. The second part of this, is that you shouldn’t be so full of yourself, or your company think they are so important to the prospect, that it’s your way or the highway.
When it’s all said and done, you and your prospect will meet in the middle on a lot of these things if you don’t make the mistake that our politicians are making today … “don’t threaten”. You lose credibility AND respect. No one is the smartest guy in the room, remember the late Steven Covey’s 7-habits in your negotiation tactics, they will serve you well;
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think Win-Win
- Seek first to understand THEN be understood
- Sharpen the saw (after you find the win win)
Pinnacle Sales, LLC can help you run your campaign and ensure that you get the Win-Win you are looking for. Give us a call, send us a mail, tell us what you are searching for!