Read an interview of Tony Perzow, SPASigma‘s VP of Pricing Training, who has taught negotiation strategies to literally thousands of people from companies ranging from multinational Fortune 500 organizations to main street distributors. Excerpts of the interview conducted by Frank E. Hurtte Jr. who has 28 years of distribution industry experience and a lifetime in sales follow.
“When the first few minutes of a conversation includes references to dozens of Fortune 500 companies, Greek philosophers, the contrast between American and European street names…”
When the first few minutes of a conversation includes references to dozens of Fortune 500 companies, Greek philosophers, the contrast between American and European street names and the future of B2B selling, you know it’s going to be interesting. But when the speaker effortlessly ties them all together to make a watertight point, you realize the time was well spent. Such is the case with Tony Perzow, SPASigma’s VP of Pricing Training. Allow me to share some of the experience.
Tony is the Vice President of the newly formed training arm of Strategic Pricing Associates (SPA) called SPASigma. Long known for their unique methodology which combines data-driven pricing analysis, price training and ongoing client coaching, SPA has pushed their offering further into another area which impacts the price equation – negotiations. This is where Tony comes in.
“Many salespeople enter the profession because they possess certain personality traits; natural charm, the gift of gab…”
When asked about his observations on selling Tony shared, “Many salespeople enter the profession because they possess certain personality traits; natural charm, the gift of gab or an in depth understanding of the product technology. Engineering types especially come to the selling world with strong a well-developed knowledge of product features. At the same time most of these people fail to understand the mechanics of convincing their customers to make a purchase.”
“I asked Perzow to elaborate. His answer was eye-opening:”
“Salespeople are paid to persuade, yet they miss the mark. Several thousand years ago Aristotle outlined the three pillars of persuasion. I believe they still stand. Let me elaborate. Aristotle broke persuasion into Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Loosely translated from the Greek, these mean credibility, empathy and evidence. Unless all three are used, the seller will not be effective.”
“Hearing this bold statement I had to get more. I asked for additional clarification:”
“To make a sale you have to be believed. A seller must demonstrate they are a credible source; that you are honest and offer up valuable information about your area of expertise. This is relatively easy for the engineering guys. Their degree and product skills are evident assuming their words and actions demonstrate this to the customer. For other sellers credibility is built by sharing work history and experiences which lead to the conclusion that you are a worthy source of information.
A seller has to empathize with the customer – it’s the old walk a mile in the customer’s shoes story. You must demonstrate understanding of the customer’s unique situation. Further, you must tie in how your product, service or solution can help solve the customer’s issue…”
“To him, negotiation is part of the buying process; more of a buyer-seller dance aimed at getting the best deal.”
“Back during the darkest days of the last recession, I saw a shift in the people attending negotiation training. As companies looked for ways to remove cost from their operation. The quickest, easiest approach was to buy things cheaper. Classes switched from a mix of buyers and sellers to rooms full of purchasing and procurement types,” quipped Perzow.
“As a person who believes many distributors and other selling organizations have gone overboard with the concept of “value-added” selling, I was keenly impressed by Tony’s thoughts on the topic:”
“Many seller don’t fully understand the cost of the freebees they provide. Further, research indicates buyers aren’t all that impressed with services or products provided for free. To the buyer, free stuff is just fluff. While cerebrally they understand the free stuff has some value, there is no real satisfaction created in the deal; especially if they assume everybody gets the same deal – that it’s built into the price.”
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