Will you walk? I’ve been writing about fee setting, and no fee setting series would be complete without facing the reality of a failed negotiation. If you’re not willing to walk away from the business, you have no business negotiating. Once the client perceives your willingness to discount, they’ll require it as part of every deal. Set your fees wisely, being honest with yourself, and your ability, and be consistent. Everyone knows that car dealers are more willing to negotiate at year end, and that Cisco, HP, Sun, Oracle, (fill in whatever product company you sell) will do the same (Usually at month or quarter end) for any big deal. Anything to make the numbers work. So what have we trained our customers to do? Wait.
Your job is the be the best. Jim Collins talks, in his book, Good to Great, about the hedgehog. Being the best, having the passion, and finally the economic engine. When clients see your value and know your prices are fixed, they’ll stop playing games. Michael Bosworth, in his book, Solution Selling, explains it like this, Once you start discounting, the client will continue to squeeze, like a wet washcloth, until there is no water left.
What’s the solution. Be great, be willing to walk, and leave the client wanting you. Then continue to market to them until they realize they really do need you. In the long run you’ll waste less time, make more money, and have better clients.
© 2010, David Stelzl
2 thoughts on “Will you Walk Away?”
Very true, and hard to do! Especially, when production goals are set by vendor agreements and one’s management.
Yes, we’ve done it to ourselves and as you point out, the average sales person is powerless to reverse the trend…but do what you can to build a territory based on unique value, not product. This is the only way back.