sales people

The Ultimate Negotiation Strategy Checklist

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Negotiation is like any sport. The best negotiators, like the best athletes, never stop training. They learn new skills and work to develop them. They welcome the coaching and equipment that can improve performance.

We’ve trained thousands of master negotiators over the years, and if there’s one common trait among those who become expert negotiators, it’s that they start to see negotiation as a game. It’s not uncommon for people who want to learn “just enough to get by” get wrapped up in it, suddenly amazed by all the new opportunities made visible through the lens of negotiation.

When you start to see the art, the strategy and the techniques of professional negotiation as a game, what you have is a challenging, rewarding “hobby” that boosts your professional worth, the demand for your talents, and consequently, your income. Heck, even practicing negotiation can be an entertaining endeavor.

Ready to up your game? Get started with our ultimate negotiation strategy checklist.

❒ Brainstorm “The Golden Question”.

With a name like “the Golden Question,” you know it’s juicy. So I won’t keep you waiting – here it is: If there are pressures on me, what are the pressures on the other side?

We tend to dwell on our own pressures, and that puts us at a disadvantage. It’s easy to forget that the other party has pressures too. Brainstorming the Golden Question isn’t just a great strategic exercise that can put you on equal, if not firmer footing than the other party. It also promotes a productive mindset that allows you to approach each deal with confidence.

❒ Employ a discovery process.

Now that you’ve brainstormed a list of pressures the other party may be facing, it’s time to uncover which ones the other party is actually experiencing. Here are a few tactics you can use:

  • The Detective– Strategically probe the other party for beneficial information. Think through the “5 W’s” and ask open-ended questions. Write your questions down and review them before the meeting because it helps you ask each question at the most opportune time.
  • The Schmoozer– Use casual conversation to uncover the other party’s pressures. You’d be surprised what you can learn by simply showing a genuine interest in the other party’s business.
  • The Snooper– This is about using the internet to gather beneficial information about the other party. Dig beyond their website to unearth third-party data and marketing or sales presentations that reveal concerns, motivations and values.

Click here to access the complete negotiation strategy checklist and to learn more about SPASigma.

 

SPA Events

Click here for SPA event info including our next Battle for Margin and our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

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.

 

5 Ways Negotiation Training is the Source of Enduring, Powerful Revenue Streams

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Way #1: Negotiation training helps you identify what matters most to win better deals

Victoria Pynchon, Negotiation Consultant, She Negotiates, says that trained negotiators begin with small talk which builds trusts and turns the conversation to their negotiation partner’s goals, preferences, desires, needs, fears, priorities, risk aversion, and attitudes toward the future. It also uncovers hidden constraints and unknown stakeholders.

“Trained negotiators know how to ask open-ended, diagnostic questions,” she says.

Way #2: Negotiation training increases the likelihood everyone wins

“Negotiation is about finding the win-win,” says Koka Sexton, Global Industry Principal, Social Selling, Hootsuite.

He believes that sales professionals will position themselves better when “they can articulate the natural give and take of a deal” and understand what the buyer is really interested in.

“Negotiation training is probably one of the most important sales skills besides making initial contact with the buyer,” says Koka.

Click here to access the full list and to learn more about SPASigma.

 

SPA Events

Click here for SPA event info including our next Battle for Margin and our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

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.

 

SPA Featured in The Distributor Channel article “Every Silver Cloud has a Dark Lining: Things to Consider in a Growth Economy”

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SPA was featured in a recent The Distributor Channel article, “Every Silver Cloud has a Dark Lining: Things to Consider in a Growth Economy”, which discusses the fact that a strong economic growth business environment can “distract from strategic thought” and why a solid pricing process is an essential part of any strategic initiative.

Excerpts of the article follow.

“Every Silver Cloud has a Dark Lining”

Not to be a perennial bummer, but all this growth stuff presents a few issues for distributors.  For the next couple of weeks we will explore issues tied to operating in a good economic times.  So, without further ado, let’s explore the dark lining in what most view as a silver cloud.

“Issue One: Brisk Business Masks Process Breakdowns”

Surging sales provides stealth cover for many problems.  You lose market share, but since the numbers are looking good you don’t notice competitors poaching business from some of your accounts.  Mediocre sellers post growth dollars and their lack of skills go unnoticed.   Sellers announce they are too busy for CRM data input.  Warehouses get dirty, shelves get cluttered.  Customer returns languish for months before suppliers are notified and credit received.

“Issue Two:  Great Business Climates Distract from Strategic Thought”

Without the right kind of discipline, distributor types find themselves consumed by urgent issues and procrastinate strategically critical issues.  It feels good to be busy and even better when busy is tied to the instant gratification of big business.  But our world is changing… Actually spinning faster than ever before.  Investing in strategic issues during good times is more important during upticks in the economy.  Experience dictates, those with solid strategy go into recession better positioned and rise faster with the next upturn.  Let’s think of strategically important topics.

“I believe a solid pricing process is an essential part of any strategic initiative.  There’s three big reasons why:”

> Pricing Process drives bottom line results.  The typical distributor using David Bauders’ Strategic Pricing Associates improves gross margin by two points.  In some industries, this nearly doubles the bottom line results.  For most distributors the gain is still in the 50 percent range.  You can’t ignore this size of an increase.

> Company value is dramatically improved.  Distributor businesses are valued on a multiple of bottom line profits before tax and interest (EBITA).  Here’s a simplified example of how it works.  A company putting $1M to the bottom line could be valued at 6 times earnings or $6M.  That company increases the bottom line via pricing by 50 percent to $1.5M.  Using the same formula, the company is now valued at $9M.  Further, our research indicates companies with higher performance than industry norms often attract a higher multiple of earnings.  So, the process may actually improve the value substantially more think multiple of 8, which means a value of $12M.  Yep, pretty strategic.

> Processes in the sales department tend to interact.  Building a credible pricing process requires detailed customer and supplier segmentation; marketing improves.  Salespeople are forced to think more critically about the customers they invest time with.  Targeting improves.  And, sales teams with well-developed targets are 47 percent more effective in reaching their goals

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Upcoming SPA Events

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 June 8-9 at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, NV.

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

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

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can 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.

10 Buyer Negotiation Tactics to Lower Price Points

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spasigma-blog-10-buyer-neg

Negotiation is a dance. To have it go smoothly, you must be ultra-attentive to your own actions and the actions of your partner. Even the slightest, unexpected move can create a better – or worse – outcome. That’s why we’ve built negotiation tactics around the smartest actions. Here are 10:

1. Anchor them. State your very best price. When you establish your price point, you influence expectation. We tend to expect the first position we hear.

2. Throw junk. Point out negatives about whatever it is they’re trying to sell. You want to make your negotiation partner questions his or her price point.  Before beginning negotiations, collect junk by asking internal stakeholders about their overall satisfaction with the vendor. Did they deliver on time? Was their customer service acceptable? Did they honor the fine print?

3. Woo them. With every bit of junk you throw, be sure to give them a positive statement, such as “We really want to make this work,” or “We really want to do business with you.”

You want to minimize conflict and open the party up to new ideas like a lower price.

Click here to access the full list and to learn more about SPASigma’s negotiation training.

 

SPA Events

Click here for upcoming SPA event dates such as our next Battle for Margin June 8-9 in Las Vegas, NV and dates/times for our upcoming webcasts.

Follow SPA

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.

 

8 Critical Negotiation Insights You’ll Get at Battle for Margin

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You owe it to yourself and your team to attend a SPASIGMA Battle for Margin negotiation intensive training seminar. These are two-day deep-dives into proven deal-winning strategies you’ll find nowhere else.

The following are just a few of the critical negotiation insights that are shared at Battle for Margin:

  1. Surprising negotiation planning strategies that sharpen the competitive edge
  2. When and how to clarify the financial impact of not moving forward
  3. Tactics to avoid and embrace by situation and personality type

Click here to access the full list and to learn more about SPASigma.

 

Other SPA Events

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

Follow SPA

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.

 

SPASigma Featured in The Distributor Channel article “The Dog Ate My Customer List (and other Excuses from the Sales Department)”

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SPASigma was featured in a recent The Distributor Channel article, “The Dog Ate My Customer List (and other Excuses from the Sales Department)”, which discusses how many organizations’ sales people – “Simply stated, distributors are giving away money by the bushel”.

Excerpts of the article follow.

I Know the Market and This Won’t Work- Pricing Process

During in-depth interviews with dozens of distributors who have instituted successful pricing processes, the story always comes back the same. They experience very little, if any push-back from customers, but they get plenty of push-back from their team.

The excuses are so predicable, I can almost mouth the words. “This pricing stuff works in big cities/small towns/west coast/east coast/ anywhere but here. Our customers will react negatively. They will immediately recognize we are gouging them. And the competition will have a field day.” When all else fails, the sales guy will look their boss in the eye and say, “I’m paid on gross margin, I’m doing everything in my power to maximize that gross margin. Don’t you trust me?”

Simply stated, distributors are giving away money by the bushel

David Bauders’ team at Strategic Pricing Associates has developed some powerful tools to analyze price data. In an interview with him sometime ago, David produced dozens of analytical graphs showing market price, order size and product discounts. Amazingly, they all looked the same. Customers making very small purchases are getting price levels well below the natural market. Simply stated, distributors are giving away money by the bushel.

a simple test to determine if a distributor’s team actually understands market pricing

David recommends a simple test to determine if a distributor’s team actually understands market pricing. He takes the top 20 SKUs from a company and asks the sales team to provide a best estimate of the market price. Fewer than 25 percent of the sales team gets anywhere near a passing grade. The guys who claim to be maximizing your margin can’t.

There are some root causes to this whole issue with pricing. First, most distributor salespeople really do believe they understand the market. The question becomes, where do they get their information?

 “in our world, customers have been trained to mislead us on pricing.”

Let’s face it, in our world, customers have been trained to mislead us on pricing. When was the last time somebody said, “Wait a minute, Jim, your price is too low?”  Purchasing departments see their role as trimming just a few percentage points off of the buy price. Their goal is the best service at the lowest price. Secondly, most customers really are nice folks. Rather than tell us our service is rotten or we lack the follow through required to earn their business, they let us down gently with a well-placed, “It looks like your price didn’t line up this time.”

What’s a mother to do? We believe that using a scientifically driven analytic tool will begin to give you an idea of your company’s pricing in the market. On top of that, pricing process metrics allow the manager to measure, coach and enforce a process that adds significantly to the overall bottom line.

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Upcoming SPA Events

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

spasigma-blog-footer-800-by-300-pixels

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

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

Follow SPA

To easily keep up with the latest SPA announcements, events and resources you can 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.

Are Profit Vampires Sucking Your Blood?

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Read excerpts of an article that highlights how important it is for distributors to implement proven scientific pricing and sales negotiations processes that will stop unnecessary discounting by sales people for small customers who promise to buy in volume, killing a deal’s profitability with free services, and empower them to negotiate with confidence when providing complex customer solutions.

“The evil deeds of dastardly fellow, known as Count Purchasing, are legendary.”

You could probably add a few anecdotal stories of your own. But in our world, the greatest disaster to innocents with salesperson business cards comes when Count Purchasing transmutes into the shape of our best friend.

His sweet siren’s song goes something like this: “You’re really a great company. We really think you have worked hard…and because of all this, I am going to let you have the order… Assuming you can match the price.” To the uninformed, it sweetly rings forth with a too good to pass up message. At least until you analyze its hidden meaning.

Deep in the cavernous hideout of his castle office, Count Purchasing has an engraved plaque bearing the motto “buy from the best supplier, but pay the price of the worst on the planet.” In our case, he may be touting the ill-conceived price of that organization down the street. The one with no post-sale support, poor delivery and terrible accounting practices. Or in the case of our technology driven products, he may use the price of a company without specialists. All falling after your motion control, abrasives or cutting tool specialist invested days and dozens of phone calls helping his own engineering team develop detailed specifications, bills of materials and all the rest. Simply put, you do the work and get paid like the guys who did nothing.

“Vampire killing tip Numero Uno, you must recognize that Count Purchasing was trained to sing this verse.”

But wait, there’s more.

Another sweet song comes in the form of exaggerated quantities. “I will be acquiring zillions of these over the next few years. Give me the price level for your largest quantity break.” Strangely, the large order never comes. What’s worse is we, as innocents, often lock their organization into large quantity pricing without setting expectations for lack of quantity or periodically reviewing the results. Years pass and they continually feed on our goodwill. Again, a “trick of the trade” is used to pull the life’s blood from our organization. Vampire killing tip number two; develop quotes that allow for periodic quantity reviews.

“Not every vampire in our industry has a cubical down in the Procurement Department.”

Some of them dwell like invisible demons in the minds of our own folks. When we substitute “nice guy” thoughts in place of business sense, they flourish. Each and every time we give a really friendly small customer the same pricing as the gigantic user down the street – they put the bite on our bottom line. Research by David Bauders of Strategic Pricing Associates demonstrates thousands of examples of this phenomenon. Tiny customers are given sub-market pricing, strangely buying quantities of one or two at levels equal to or lower than your biggest customer who purchases hundreds at a time. Drop by precious drop the life’s blood of your business is drained from your bottom line. How much can this be? These are tiny droplets – but the red cells add up. David’s team has a track record of adding two points of added margin to distributor’s business.

“A trip to the musty crypt of the undead reveals a menacing claw fiendishly refusing to die.”

This monster goes by the name of Free Service. Let’s bravely explore the situation. We sold the customer a system back in 2006. Strangely, a decade later, we find ourselves mesmerized into believing post-sale service is our responsibility. What’s worse, we think we’re obligated to do it for free. In spite of expert advice to drive a stake through the beast’s black heart, the darn thing just won’t die.

The practice of free service is a time honored tradition in the electrical wholesaling world. It is reinforced by some supply partners. They would have you believe it’s the true duty of every red-blooded prey… I mean distributor. And systems integrators, contractors and installers echoed the message like sound bouncing in Dracula’s tomb. For some unholy reason, there’s not an issue with our service, as long as we never, ever charge for the privilege.

“Spend a little time at your next sales meeting talking about negotiation techniques.”

A few years ago we worked with purchasing guru Malcolm Mills on a series of sales process improvement programs. We discovered the guys on Malcolm’s side (purchasing) regularly attend classes covering negotiation strategies. They don’t lie, but developing skills to mislead our sellers seems to be worth the investment to them. Every time we stumble into one of their snares, it cost us money. Insist your sellers answer the comment “your price is too high” with a powerful value statement.

Invest a little time in understanding your value to the customer. Some of your day-to-day actions create thousands of dollars in real measurable value. Don’t let Count Purchasing hypnotize you into believing “all our vendors can do that.” First, it’s probably not true. More importantly, it doesn’t matter. If you produce real measurable value – it adds to the customer’s bottom line. You should be fairly compensated.

Click here to read the complete article.

Follow SPA

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.