How Negotiation Training Makes a Difference for Distributors

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If you were to assume that knowledge-based distributor salespeople live on the front lines of negotiation training you would be wrong. In the unlikely event they have been exposed to formalized training on the subject, many have been turned off by the “one time” event nature of the training. Those who took part in the training years ago admit they have forgotten the skills they were taught.


Negotiation training that emphasizes relationships

The difference between the “one time” event and the realities of distribution selling was summed up best by Greg Smith, Executive VP of New England based Granite City Electric Supply. “Our selling is based on building an ongoing customer relationship. These extend for decades and embody mutual trust, respect and partnership. The negotiation tactics, which typically make up the bulk of most such training, are just not appropriate when we plan to see the guy again next week.”

There is a difference, and upon learning of Granite City Electric’s decision to employ SPASIGMA’s training program for their sales team, we decided to solicit Mr. Smith’s thoughts on the drivers of this decision.

Survey Results: Shortcomings of Wholesale Distributor Negotiation Training

Teaching sellers to act like owners

“We allow our sales people a lot of leeway with their customers. Granite City Electric offers a vast number of extra services, things like an emergency hotline, our Night Train Delivery Service, job trailers, rapid wire spools and a whole bunch more,” says Smith. “Service doesn’t just happen, it costs money. After previewing the SPASIGMA training, we realized it transcends anything else on the market. Instead of just a bunch of tactics, it encourages a solid understanding of the impact of everything associated with our kind of selling. It encourages sellers to think more like business people, recognizing the overall impact of their actions on profitability. They’re encouraged to find the ideal mix of customer value and return on investment for our organization.”

During each and every customer interaction, sales people are put into a give and take interaction with long-term customers, and must quickly determine the cost of any concessions. In an industry where the bottom line margins hover between two and three percent, a few price concessions and extras can take a sizable bite out of profitability.

Further complicating the situation, distributor salespeople are mostly unaware of the costs of non-product offerings both intangible and otherwise. Granite City Electric believes the training (in Smith’s words) “gets people to understand the whole situation and make better decisions.”

Getting to the heart of what matters

Looking into the nuts and bolts of the training, SPASIGMA instructs on strategies to determine the customer’s pressure points. For example, it’s not uncommon for salespeople to offer up services which are costly to their employer, but not all that important to the customer. For instance, a salesperson receiving an order gives the customer expedited (and more costly) delivery even though delivery really wasn’t of high importance to customer. The truck makes a special trip rather than including the products in the regular delivery schedule. Operating costs skyrocket, profits drop and all the while, the customer didn’t even care. Unfortunately, this is an everyday occurrence in wholesale distribution.

Negotiation training that sticks

SPASIGMA addresses one more important point in their training offering. “Salespeople go to great training, get enthused and return back to 150 other things we ask them to do,” Smith says. “If they don’t immediately start using the skills covered in the course, a couple weeks later most of the valuable tools are forgotten or at least not top of mind.”

Find out: How a One Day Seminar Leads to Negotiation Mastery

To ensure distributors realize a long-term ROI from their negotiation training investment, SPASIGMA offers a series of interactive online exercises which extend for months following the training, thus addressing this important component of adult learning.

Would you like your distributorship to realize the same benefits as the team at Granite City Electric Supply?

Check out our on-demand webinar to learn more: Introduction to Negotiation Mastery


Set You and Your Team Up to Win Better Agreements at Battle For Margin


Your organization’s profits depend on the individual and collective negotiation skill of your employees – from sales to purchasing. The Battle for Margin negotiation intensive is a rare opportunity to dive deeper into negotiation strategy that will immediately drive for more profitable agreements. Don’t you and your team deserve to be set up for success? Don’t miss the Battle for Margin.

It will be held in Miami at February 9-10 at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside.

Get negotiation intelligence you’ll find nowhere else:

Revolutionize how you and your team view negotiation. Give your organization the tools and knowledge to drive more profit than ever before with compelling and eye-opening case studies, critiques, and group exercises. Instill knowledge fast. The day will fly by because our seminars are purposefully entertaining and educational; people learn more when they’re having fun.

Attendee Testimonials

Here what our clients have to say about the power of strategic pricing tools from SPASigma Negotiation Training Seminars.

“SPASIGMA breaks the standard mold of slow pace seminars. It’s engaging, fun, and interactive in a setting that feels warm and comfortable.”

     — Mitch Koepp, Marketing Manager, All World Machinery


Other SPA Events

Join us for one of the following upcoming webinars:

SPASigma Personality Quotient Training

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 @ 2:00 PM Eastern

Imagine you have to build relationships with two personalities as different as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. A single strategy probably wouldn’t work equally well with each of them, would it? What if you could learn a practical set of skills to help you quickly and efficiently differentiate your strategy to the personality of the individual? You would build stronger relationships, faster and more efficiently, than if you applied a one-size-fits-all approach. You would increase your RQ!

With proper PQ training, within a couple of minutes of meeting an individual, you can identify which of four temperaments they relate to, and adjust your relationship-building, selling, negotiating, and other strategies to efficiently accomplish your objectives. You can boost your RQ!

Check out these two short videos for a glimpse of the tools the webcast will provide:

Donald Trump Video:

Hillary Clinton Video:

We can’t wait to show you how to master these skills! See you at the webinar!

Click here to register


Pricing Effectiveness – You Get What You Can Negotiate

Thursday, January 12, 2017 @ 2:00 PM Eastern

What would happen if every deal that came across your desk suddenly had a one percent higher margin?

What if, in a few months you were seeing 3-5 percent higher margins on most of your deals?

These aren’t pie-in-the-sky questions – this is reality for SPASIGMA clients.

You and your team can become master negotiators. That sounds far-fetched, I know, which is why we’re offering this overview of how we make it happen.

It’s simple: just register for the SPASigma webinar on a new approach to negotiation training.

Click here to register

Click here for other SPA event dates and times including our upcoming webcasts.


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To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can subscribe to our Strategic Pricing Pays blog or follow us on LinkedIn or on the following major social media channels and file sharing platforms: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, SlideShare, and YouTube.

We also encourage you to join the Strategic Pricing discussions in our LinkedIn group and to sign up to receive our Strategic Pricing Newsletter by clicking here.


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