Learn techniques used by buyers to throw you off and know the difference between negotiators and implementer.s
- Thanks to reality TV, we've all seen negotiating skills in action. Shark Tank, Million Dollar Listing, The Apprentice, we've had a ring side seat to the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's likely that you're buyers have had some level of training in negotiation. Even if it's there boss saying, knock them down as far as you can. So let's talk about three of the most common techniques that your buyer may try to use on you, and how you can defuse them.
In the following scenarios we will see Elizabeth. She's a new sales rep. She's been trained. She's excited, and she's very eager, and she's negotiating with Cody, who is an experienced purchasing agent. Now one of the first techniques the buyers often try is to get you down on price without discussing value, and in this scenario I want you to notice how Cody keeps putting it towards price, while Elizabeth keeps trying to steer him back towards a value conversation.
- [Elizabeth] So how does this look to you? - Well I'm gonna be honest with ya. We've had a lot of conversations about this. I've taken a look at a lot of the options. I know you're trying to toss in a few extra things in the package here, but you know, price is all we are really concerned about. - [Elizabeth] Really? - Yeah. That's it. - Well you know, you and sat down, we talked about your goals, and I really think that what we have discussed-- - I'm gonna stop you right there, I really appreciate the time you're taking on this, but I really just want to look at the bottom line. The bottom line's what's important to us here.
- I completely understand that you need a fair price, but when we look back at your goals and we compare it to the bottom line, do you see another way that we could go about this and still meet your objectives? - You know I thought about it a dozen different ways, and I've spent my time on it, and I just, I really, I really , really need to get that bottom line down there, and I really need to get that price down, because I got people have got high expectations for me, you know, I got people looking over on me, and their expecting big, big things, and I really, really gotta, I gotta get that price down. - Right, my concern is that if we take the price too low, we're gonna be in a position where we can't put our best people on your account, and you're not gonna get what you need.
- And I understand that, but you know, looking at the market there, I think it's just fair to say, that where you guys are at, and where we need to be at, it's not too much to ask. - Now if I were Elizabeth's sales coach in this situation, I would tell her to pause, and really think about the things her buyer has put forth. He's probably a nice guy, but he's under a lot of pressure, and he's talked about some other people that are putting pressure on him, other elements. So instead of trying to negotiate at this point, and try to resale her value story.
Elizabeth might need to dial it back a little bit, and ask some questions about who some of these other players are, and what else is going on here? Let's see what that might look like. - You know, I wanna go back to something you said, that you have people on your back, trying to get this deal closed. Do you think it would be helpful if you and I worked together to create a better value story, and take that further up the ladder? (inhales deeply then sighs) - You know I'll have to think about that a little bit. That is a good point.
- You know, in my experience it really has been beneficial if we involve a few more people, and really get the buy in around the value of this, you'll look great. - You know, you might be right about that. Maybe I should get Catherine involved in the conversation. - I think that's a good idea. - It worked a little better that time, because Elizabeth was able to pivot and move from getting defensive about her value, to asking a few more questions. Now another technique that buyers often use is belittling your value early in the conversation.
Now this is one of the most popular, old school negotiating tactics out there, and it's a little bit different than ignoring your value, this is actually trying to poke holes in it. A buyer might bring up competitors features just to make you feel like you're product is useless. Let's take a look at happens in this scenario, when Cody actually gets a little more assertive. - So looking at this, are you ready to move forward? - You know I'm gonna be honest with you, I'm not, I'm not even close to moving forward on this.
There are some very distinct holes, in what you guys are offering. You know, you and I both know some of the reviews that are on line. You guys, you know where the gaps are, you know that launch that you had year, some failures that took place there. You know some of those things, and that really concerns me. I'm getting offers on some other things, and some other products from some other people, that are really, really, really gonna make it difficult for us to get together on this. - Well you're right, we did have a launch last year that did not go as planned, but we have recovered it completely, and I think you know in this situation what would probably be best, is for you to talk to some of our most successful clients in your space, so they can tell you exactly how their relationship has been with us.
- Well again, you know, we live in a digital age, and with the internet out there, I've read a lot of your clients reviews, and I gotta be honest with you, I'm not impressed. - You're not? Well have you considered reading reviews that are not negative or have you only looked at the new ones? - I've looked at both sides of the fence as fairly as I think I can, but of course our concern is that, this is successful, and so when we're looking at things that are negative, those things scream louder than anything else, it's hard for us to balance it out with there positives. There's just to much negative out there on this.
- I understand, success is our first priority to. Have you looked at your competitor's reviews? - I have looked at some of the competitor's reviews. I don't really wanna talk about that. I wanna talk about what we're talking about here with your product. - [Elizabeth] Okay, that's completely fair. - Now in this case, the buyer's behavior, has put Elizabeth on the defensive, because she knows that some of the online reviews aren't good, and that there have been problems, but what's happening is, he's bringing up the negative, she keeps trying to combat it with the positive, they're gonna wind up in a stalemate.
Instead what she needs to do is, she needs regroup, and focus on his specific situation, and figure out exactly, what might effect his implementation, and she needs to ask a few questions about that to see if he's just using a tactic on her, or whether he has some real concerns. - You know I wanna back up a little bit, because one thing you said really struck me. We have had our failures in the past, and we both know the launch you're talking about, but I'm concerned, how do you think that particular situation would effect you, and what we have discussed here today? You know, that's uh, that's good point.
I guess I had only been thinking about the greater good, and not myself. We should visit that. - Right, well let's go and look at this plan, and what's most important to both of us is your success, so I think talking with some more recent clients who have purchased exactly what you're looking at and not other sides would be really beneficial. - That sounds fair. - [Elizabeth] Okay. - By asking a few questions, Elizabeth was able to reveal that he was really just using tactic. He hadn't really thought through how some of these concerns might effect his implementation.
Now in real life, these scenarios probably would have gone on even longer, and they probably would have been a lot more awkward. The point is, you're always trying to be curious, uncover information, and move the conversation back to value. Now there's a third technique that some buyers use, and it's where they act like they're the decision maker, but at the last minute they insert their boss. Let's see how Elizabeth handles this one.
- So are we ready to move forward on this? - You know, everything is looking good, but I have someone else that I need to get involved in this, so we need to pull in Kathy, she's actually the, you know, she's the one who signs the deal at the bottom of it all. - [Elizabeth] Okay. - So, we need to get her involved. - Okay I completely agree. Let's involve Kathy, and let's really talk about her values, and what she needs to accomplish with this. - [Cody] Thank you. - Sure, when can we set up a time to meet? - You know, we are not actually gonna bring her in, to this three person scenario, I'll go ahead and finish the deal with you, then I'll be talking with her about this, so.
- Okay, to be perfectly transparent, I don't feel ethical selling you something, if I'm not completely sure it meets her values, if she is going to be the end user. - Well let me reassure you that I represent her values so, and she's a busy woman, so I'm gonna go ahead and get this thing iced, take it over to her, all she's going to do, she trusts me, she's get a quick signature on there, everything will be fine. - Do you think it might be beneficial for her to talk to my boss, so they can have a more strategic conversation about this? - I'm not really sure that's necessary. All the time that we have spent together doing this deal, I feel okay about it.
I think she trusts me well enough. I really don't think that she needs to be too involved. - Okay, I agree you and I have worked out a lot of the logistics and specifics, but I think it really would be beneficial for them to meet and talk about a more high level strategy for this going forward. - And I understand that perspective, but I don't think I agree. - So Elizabeth's instincts are right, she wants to meet with the boss. The challenge is she jumped to it just a little too quickly. So she says hey, let me meet with your boss. He naturally says no, and there's no where to go.
A better response would be, hmm, new person, time to ask more questions. Let's see if Elizabeth is able to regroup. - You know I've been thinking about Kathy. Can you tell me a little bit more about her role and her goals for this? - You know, Kathy goals for this will line up perfectly with mine. I'm very confident about that. - I'm sure that's true, and you have obviously talked, but what I think might be really important, is that we get the top of this proposal in her own words. - You know, I appreciate that, but I really don't think we need to do that.
I think what we have iced at the top of this, will align with her goals perfectly. - I understand we can't meet, but what about a five minute phone call, just to be sure that you look good and so do I? - I appreciate that. I think that might be a good idea. - Okay, so she didn't get a meeting with the boss, but she did get a five minute phone call, which is better than nothing, and she protected her buyer's ego. You know our intention in showing you these things, is not to say that two sentences are going to completely reverse a scenario, or everything is gonna work out perfectly, but we wanted to give you a demonstration of the skills you can use to disarm these negotiation 1.0 tactics.
You know it's important to remember that every sale is not going to close. These negotiations are difficult. The intention is that if you use these skills, they will reduce your defensiveness, and they will help you improve your overall win rate. So here are the three things I want you to take away from this when you're in a tough negotiation. Number one, don't get defensive. You're buyer is just trying to do their job. Number two, always steer the conversation back to value.
And number three, if new information, or new people are inserted into the process, be curious. Ask questions before you try to circumvent the situation, be cause your job as a purpose driven sales negotiator, is to elevate the conversation. You wanna create the big win for everyone.
- Negotiating with noble purpose
- Three kinds of sales negotiation
- Why deals fall apart
- Spotting and diffusing negotiation traps
- Asking for their boss
- Negotiating via email
- Avoiding renegotiating sales