sales negotiation

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Trump’s Transactional Trap

Monday, 06 March 2017 13:02
6 03, 2017

Trump’s Transactional Trap

2017-07-02T15:24:27+00:00

In the New Yorker last year, Tony Schwartz the ghostwriter for Donald J Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal said:

‘He lied strategically’

‘I put lipstick on a pig’

Rather than inviting more infighting than a Taiwanese parliament, let’s focus on the negotiation trap inherent in Trump’s behaviour.

Whether you’re for or against him, Trump’s negotiation tactics are more obvious than a bogey hanging out of your left nostril on a video conference call.

·  Huge ambit opening positions – if he wants $2.50, he asks for $1 Billion

·  Flattery – ‘You’re a good guy, a great guy, the best’

·  Bluster – ‘This is going to happen my way, it always does…believe me’

·  Anger (Feigned or real) ‘This deal is so bad, so wrong, you’re making me really mad’

·  Insult and intimidation ‘You’re a loser, you’re crooked, you are going down big time’

These tactics may or may not have worked but it’s fair to say that at best, they are transactional.

A deal can be done using these tactics as long as there is no genuine need for an ongoing relationship. The winner takes it all, the loser’s standing small. (Sorry, too much ABBA in adolescence)

Interestingly, a lot of people have asked me if I think Trump’s tactics are useful for them.

My short response is ‘If you plan on renewing that client, getting referrals or being treated as a trusted advisor for a while, then probably not’.

However, when I ask them if they’ve been subjected to these and other tactics from clients including senior managers and Procurement, they say ‘All the bloody time’.

Many sales managers and sales people are aware of these tactics being used against them, yet are so keen to get the deal that they succumb, subjecting their company to poor margins, ridiculous stress to meet deliverables and a culture of subservience.

Here’s what you can do to address the key tactics in Trump’s playlist:

Huge ambit opening positions: Plan your own positions, especially your walk away. Politely refuse to discuss offers outside that range. Get back to discussing what the client is trying to achieve

Flattery: Ring your bestie, your mum or ask your dog if he loves you mid lick. You don’t need approval and validation from clients.

Bluster: Ignore or say ‘thanks for sharing that, so let’s look more closely at the issues on the table’

Anger: Keep asking questions like “Why is this so bad? Why do you want to still pursue this then? What would you like to do from here? (my personal favourite)

Insult and intimidation: See Anger, or coolly refuse to continue until the behaviour stops.

Unless you don’t care whether your client gets a great result or not, transactional negotiation styles won’t work very well.

Equally, whether they are the President of the United States or the Chief Procurement Officer, you should build a skillful tactical wall and get them to pay for it.

Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate Sales, Negotiation and Presentation trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Asciano, Samsung and Lend Lease

He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two negotiators.

For more information on negotiating go to www.salesversusprocurement.com

www.salientcommunication.com.au

Published in   Executive Level Selling, Negotiation, Sales Management

22 02, 2016

Is Your Manager Donald, Hillary, Bernie, Marco or Ted?

2017-07-02T15:22:39+00:00

Your manager is running for US President right now.

Without political preference, prejudice or bias of any kind whatsoever, let’s take a look at your manager’s key attributes and see how they lead a sales team.

Donald

The Donald is the greatest deal-maker, sales guy, rainmaker that has ever lived in human history.

Just ask him.

He drives the team by the sheer force of his blustering personality. His only affliction is conjunctivitis – an eye disorder because every sentence starts with I. ‘I did this, I was great at that, I blew them away’

He doesn’t let facts get in the way of a bad story, let alone a good one and his successes are ‘Yuge’ (according to his LinkedIn profile).

Donald wants to build a wall between sales and marketing/operations/engineering and in fact, the rest of the entire organisation because they’re just losers who prevent deals from being done.

He constantly reminds the team that all competitors are idiots with lousy products and blames everyone but himself if a deal is lost.

(Also see Disdainful Squint)

Hillary

Hillary is married to the former CEO who left after allegedly not watching all the Sexual Harassment videos supplied by HR.

She is very experienced both in managing domestic and global deals and in administration.

However, her female staff under 30 mostly dismiss her approach and tend to form their own views on how to win, rather than follow Hillary’s often uninspiring speeches about how clients should behave.

Hillary seems very concerned about her own image, rather than that of her clients. Her sales people are reluctant to take her out on calls because of that disconnect and her love of flat MBA style presentations banging on about how great her company is.

(Also see Entitlement)

Bernie

Bernie was a sales manager in a remote region for decades and rarely even turned up to join in the festivities at President’s Club (no pun intended).

He believes sales people are paid too much and wants to share the accounts and commissions across the entire team, especially the newbies as it seems fairer.

He is about to introduce House Accounts where Account Directors maintain a quota for an account but all commissions go into a pool for Bernie to distribute at the end of the financial year including to sales support, inside sales, the receptionist and the outsourced cleaning company who cleaned the bins of the sales people every night.

(Also see Idealism)

Marco

Marco worked his way up from an Inside Sales rep role to being a young, upcoming manager.

Good looks and charm have won him over 5000 LinkedIn contacts but he’s only ever won a small deal in his own state.

He has no national or global account experience and hopes the team isn’t able to recognise this when he presents his weekly Work In Progress meeting.

When asked his opinions on how to creatively win new business, he tends to repeat himself.

(Also see Big Fish, Small Pond)

Ted

Ted read one book on sales in 1968 and has followed its teaching to the letter ever since.

He demands every sales person has an agenda for the meeting, follows the 7 step process regardless of the client’s needs and insists on the CRM being updated every 9 minutes.

He also has a bedside copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People’ written in 1936 which he views as a beacon of modern 20th century thinking.

(Also listen to ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra)

Apologies to Jeb who has since retired to run a weekend bed and breakfast with his brother.

Wish your manager good luck. We’re all counting on him/her. (See Airplane/Flying High)

Elliot Epstein is CEO of Salient Communication and is a sought after keynote speaker, pitch consultant and corporate sales coach who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. 

He is internationally renowned for coaching leaders, sales professionals and subject matter experts to win high stakes deals.

Elliot is based in Melbourne, Victoria and is not entitled to vote outside Australia.

www.salientcommunication.com.au

E: elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

Published in   Blog, Executive Level Selling, Sales Management

Why You Don’t Need Motivation to Win Business

Saturday, 23 August 2014 15:08
23 08, 2014

Why You Don’t Need Motivation to Win Business

2017-02-25T12:39:30+00:00

Recently I was privileged to attend a complete coaching philosophy session led by the Head Coach of A-League team, Melbourne Victory and his three key assistants.

 There were less than a hundred of us eagerly eating cold party pies, waiting for pearls of wisdom on how their magic structures or formations could help our junior footballers suddenly become heroes and in turn claim bragging rights at the pub.

 But there were no great insights into the game plans or strategies, rather we got something far more powerful that applies just as strongly to you in winning new business.

 Here are the 3 key insights from an elite coaching group and why this will lead to consistent wins in sales.

 

 Motivation Is A Waste Of Time
Head Coach, Kevin Muscat was characteristically blunt when he said there was too much work to do to waste time trying to motivate professionals. If they weren’t self motivated then they wouldn’t be at the club for very long.

 When questioned if he would spend time motivating a player who was having a bad run, he said ‘Zero…we would simply get to work on coaching skill or technique’.

 Many sales managers have asked me how to motivate a sales person with ‘He’s a good guy – I just can’t get him motivated to do X’. My standard reply is ‘I’m not that good’

 If s/he wants to succeed I’ll give them a range of skills, technique and ideas to win business but given s/he gets a six figure salary to turn up, the minimum requirement is desire, adaptability and attitude.

 Oh, and don’t waste your budget on listening to speakers who have climbed Mt Everest on one leg after contracting the Ebola virus at base camp. You’ll be filled with admiration but it will last as long as fairy floss and your sales figures next year won’t have increased.

 

 Every Training Session Is At Full Intensity

 A source of pride are my LinkedIn recommendations that talk about how challenging the sales/presentation/negotiation training was, yet how excited they are about the results they achieved afterwards.

 Melbourne Victory train at full intensity week after week, drill after drill. Everyone is committed to match day intensity because they are consummate professionals who want to win.

 When I mention the words ‘Role Play’ or ‘Presentation Rehearsal’ some people look at me as if I’ve just announced that I’ll be attaching electrodes to their testicles and delighting in ramping up the voltage. 

 That only happens when there’s access to off peak electricity rates and is highly conditional on whether or not I had an argument with my wife that morning.

 The real professionals ask for more air time, more critique, more feedback. Instead of saying ‘I’m much better than this in front of a client’,  they say ‘Make me better so I can win more business at C Level, win more deals and make more money.

 Can you imagine a footballer saying ‘I pass much better in a match than I do at training, so I’ll grab a coffee and sit this one out if you don’t mind , coach’

 

 The Strategy Doesn’t Change Much

 Whilst the team structure is tweaked slightly week to week, depending on the opposition they’re playing, the core strategy, positional play and tactics don’t change much.

 The reason for this is that the game strategy is set by the coaches in the pre-season, well before a match is played.

 Everyone understands the ‘way we go about about winning’ so if a player is injured or gets sold for megabucks mid season. someone else can simply slot in, adhere to the well drilled strategy and play their role.

 There are a lot of sales people and managers who change their strategy more often than they dry clean their favourite suit.

 End of quarter pressures, product mix issues, bonus incentives and perceptions of different markets often lead people to change tactics dramatically half way through a ‘sales season’.

 Existing sales people get thrown out of whack, clients get confused, new sales people are uncertain and inconsistency in wins creeps in because the whole team ( including pre-sales, marketing, service and support)  is playing differently every week.

 Some people like to call this flexibility.

 I call it ‘ad-hoc adventures into the unknown’.

 Elite sport is a multi-million dollar operation run by elite coaching methods.

 Elite Selling should be no different.

 If you’d like to learn more about how you can win business selling to C Level join me in the Salient Executive Level Selling Program in October 2014 click HERE

 As CEO of Salient Communication, Elliot is a sought after keynote speaker and corporate trainer who has coached and trained over 4000 people including CEOs, senior management and successful sales teams throughout Australasia and Asia including Hong Kong and Singapore.

 Elliot is a specialist sales speaker for high profile corporates having spoken at over 1500 conferences, workshops and break-out sessions on presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.

 He is renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

 Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two expensive children

 

E: elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

Published in   Executive Level Selling

World Cup Winning Ways To New Business

Sunday, 22 June 2014 13:26
22 06, 2014

World Cup Winning Ways To New Business

2017-02-25T12:39:30+00:00

If I ever leave the wonderful world of speaking and training, surely the simplest, most lucrative job would be to open a Brown Paper Bag Shop outside FIFA headquarters.

Allegedly, the opportunities for high turnover, fat margins and never ending contracts would be sensational…..allegedly.

For most of us though, we seek to win business in a genuinely competitive, sincere way proving our worth to clients and winning sustainable business by delivering well.

However there are some key points we can learn from the juggernaut that is the FIFA World Cup without resorting to brown paper bags,

1. Winners want it more

Most winning pitches I see have a level of commitment far beyond See bid/Meet client/Present bid.

They don’t talk endlessly about their solutions filled with jargon and bum numbing slides.

They have their whole company behind the bid and they get on the training track for hours every day focused on differentiating, diagnosing and presenting.

You can’t win a major pitch turning up in a nice suit once or twice, putting in a cut and paste proposal and then spending half an hour rehearsing over your Weet-Bix the morning of the presentation.

Winners find a way to jump on planes to visit ALL the  client sites and meet ALL the decision makers and influencers even when their company has a travel freeze.

Winners book an off site for two days, lock themselves up like sequestered juries away from the day to day to focus on how they will win.

Winners get budget and resources to ensure the client feels like Rihanna’s ‘You’re The Only Girl In The World’ (I have an 8 year old daughter – give me a break!)

Winners work harder than a Humility Facilitator at FIFA Headquarters.

2. You can only play one big match at a time

Ask Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney about what they focus on after Supermodels and Ferraris. (OK, not Rooney). It’s the play in front of them, not next week’s match.

Too many bids are lost because a sales team is trying to win multiple major bids simultaneously.

The Pre-Sales Gurus are often stretched to drinking point, flailing about like  England supporters with delusions of grandeur.

Beyond transactional selling, it is very difficult for one person or team to win multiple major bids in the same timeframe.

No doubt, there are some of you who are throwing referee’s foam at your screen right now because you’ve done it.

Fifteen years of pitch consulting tells me those wins are as infrequent as a footballer who never rolls around like a three year old yelling ‘Hurty Knee’

Judicious qualification leads to selective bidding which increases hit rates dramatically. If you get to choose the matches you really want to play more often, you win more of them.

3. You need Tim Cahill

Every company has a Tim Cahill who has amazing commitment, tenacity, skill under pressure  and endurance.

They just don’t all look like a plastic groom on a wedding cake like our Timmy.

Your Timmy or Timatha is the star you need to win that deal but egos, territories, commission schemes, yellow snow competitions and other nefarious motivators prevent people from putting him or her in to win the deal.

When you win, you have options over who gets credit, money and promotions. When you lose everyone skulks around the office blaming Roy Hodgson – it’s always the manager’s fault apparently.

Recriminations, backstabbing and more finger pointing than a goalkeeper on Columbian marching powder take the place of celebration and success.

Stick your best striker in the bid because s/he will jump over the tallest opposition and slam it home.

Then you’ll take the cup home, marry a Supermodel, relocate to a tropical tax haven with your own brown paper bags filled with cash and live happily ever after.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can win business selling to C Level join me in the Salient Executive Level Selling Program HERE.

As CEO of Salient Communication, Elliot is a sought after keynote speaker and corporate trainer who has coached and trained over 4000 people including CEOs, senior management and successful sales teams throughout Australasia and Asia including Hong Kong and Singapore.

Elliot is a specialist sales speaker for high profile corporates having spoken at over 1500 conferences, workshops and break-out sessions on presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.

He is renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two expensive children.

Published in   Executive Level Selling

What Your C Level Clients Really Think

Sunday, 25 May 2014 13:39
25 05, 2014

What Your C Level Clients Really Think

2017-02-25T12:39:30+00:00

Have you ever walked out of a meeting with a CEO, CFO or CIO, hit the button on the elevator and thought ‘I heard what s/he said but I still don’t quite know what makes this person tick’

Imagine if you could hypnotise them or put truth serum in their Short Macchiato to learn what they really think.

Well, after years of research and real world examples, I’m going to tell you. It may not be what you think and you need to know to win serious business.

‘I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m a corporate executive.’

Most C Suite execs are not Richard Branson.

I have chosen a life of power, status, politics and constant career advancement.

Think Jack Nicholson’s Colonel Nathan R Jessep from ‘A Few Good Men’ when he says to his direct report ‘I’ve been promoted up through the chain of command with greater speed and success than you have. Now if that’s a source of tension or embarrassment for you, well, I don’t give a sh*t.’

 

Decisions are made more readily on how it makes me look more than how it directly benefits the company. Obviously I’m very adept at juggling both but if push comes to shove….

 

‘I’m inherently sceptical because I’ve been seriously burnt before’

As I’ve risen through the ranks from Finance, Operations, Engineering, IT or Sales in the past 10 or 20 years I’ve formed very strong opinions on what methods work and what approaches don’t.

Like a jilted lover who never forgets getting dumped by their first love, I remember being let down by suppliers, vendors, engineers and sales people who promised the world and delivered Somalia.

While we’re in Africa I also recall the almost Nigerian scam like deals that offered cost savings that never materialised and maintenance contracts I was stuck with for years.

After the smell of my burning flesh dissipated I vowed to never again believe in shiny presentation packs, vague promises or people who wear nice suits regardless of the brand on their business card.

I greatly value proof. empirical, financial, demonstrable, referenceable proof and like Honey & Soy Chicken Chips I don’t want one, I want lots.

‘I don’t always trust my direct reports’

I have some in my team whose opinions I trust and equally there are a couple of self serving weasels who just want their favourite suppliers or worse…my job!

My ego is bigger than theirs and I’m conscious of their agendas when they propose different solutions to our business challenges.

If you are aligned in your bid to the wrong person, you may find yourself in more discomfort than the cast of ‘Embarrassing Bodies’

I value my peer network – other C level people, fellow professional association members, MBA alumni and people who have delivered for me before.

Get referrals. Don’t cold call me with your BS wanting to ‘catch up’ or share your new widget.

Tell me you’ve done this in my industry before and I still read letters with proof. Emails and Voicemails are handled by my assistant DEL.

‘I don’t like your Sales 101 behaviour’

I’ve had people sucking up to me for years, trying to build rapport, asking me leading questions to get me to see their value proposition, crapping on too long about how good their stuff is and inviting me to a lab, site visit, lunch.

I’ve seen this hundreds of times and have mastered 100 ways to politely dismiss you or at best shunt you down the food chain.

Talk to me like an equal, not like you just came out of a Sales Academy for Sheep Dipping Sales People.

It’s a conversation, not the beginning of your sales cycle, It’s not about you, it’s about me. Did I mention ego yet?

Share real insights, not product pitches. Don’t spend 10 minutes asking me your canned qualification questions or nauseating’ What keeps you up at night’

The answer is Viagra if you must know.

Spend 50 minutes asking questions in a conversational way with proof points along the way. If you don’t know how to do this well yet, email elliote@salientcommunication.com.au. He’ll help you.

 

‘I’m looking for my next role now’

 This place is dysfunctional and I’ve got a corporate career, two kids in private school, a holiday house and an expensive Harley Davidson collection to support.

In addition two of my MBA buddies have just got plum jobs and I’m smarter than them.

So, when you talk about long term relationship, I laugh to myself because I know 6-12 months here will see me out.

Give me quick wins, entrees into a new network, immediate cost savings so I can milk my bonus, good publicity or a feather in my cap that I can wave around executive recruiters like a World Cup Football Fan at a Brazilian After Party.

That’s what I think most of the time. The rest of the time I think about my kids, my health and enjoying life.

I’m just like you really.

More from Salient Sales Training Courses

If you’d like to learn more about how you can win business selling to C Level join me in the Salient Executive Level Selling Program HERE.

As CEO of Salient Communication, Elliot is a sought after keynote speaker and corporate trainer who has coached and trained over 4000 people including CEOs, senior management and successful sales teams throughout Australasia and Asia including Hong Kong and Singapore.

Elliot is a specialist sales speaker for high profile corporates having spoken at over 1500 conferences, workshops and break-out sessions on presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.

He is renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two expensive children.

Published in   Executive Level Selling