Most negotiators are playing mind games – especially when you move to enterprise sales. They train and use professionals whose sole purpose is to save the company money. I don’t like deceptive sales tactics, and I certainly don’t like deceptive negotiators. My intent in writing these posts over the past week is to make you aware of the games being played, and to help you avoid being taken advantage of. Work to establish tangible value, and do your best to meet business needs of those you sell to – but be aware of those who will work to whittle down your price…
Strategy #5 is definitely a ruse…it goes like this:
Purchasing picks something in the deal they know they can’t have (or at least probably can’t have). Let’s say you’re selling an application and they want one-hour onsite support – not going to happen. They press for this over and over, but there is just no way you can deliver it. The pressure builds – again, it’s their timeline unless you control the milestones. The more they know about your pressures, the more they can time this. Coming down to the wire, the deal must close – perhaps it’s quarter end. The negotiator finally gives in on the one hour support, but suddenly replaces it with the real point of negotiation – something completely unexpected, that must happen to close the deal. Perhaps it’s a greater discount, added feature at no charge, or some other value-add you have not considered. You don’t really have time to think about it, so you give in. In fact, you feel you owe them after not giving in on the support issue. It’s a mind game – bate and switch.
Honesty and consistency are your best friends in the sales process. Present your best value and the real price up front. Never give discounts greater than the street price demands, and let your client know right up front, this is the best price and here is why we charge this. Your value must justify the price right up front.
When the negotiator starts demanding things that you just can’t do, shoot straight and let them know you can’t do it. When the switch comes, expect it – always expect them to pull out some new requirement at the end. I find it’s best to have a process or policy to go through whenever a demand comes out. If the price question comes out last minute, I call and work through the value one more time, set price aside and solidify that I am the selected provider, and then go to work on price by pulling out options we’ve probably already covered. Consistency eventually sinks in…at some point they get it. This is the price, these are the options, and I am willing to walk if we can’t figure it out – I can only do this with confidence if I have been forthright through the sales process. The value is there, the price is good, there should be no question.
© 2011, David Stelzl