Archives For technology motivational speaker

Day 2 - Las Vegas

In both sessions I conducted this week, speaking on the power of the discovery process and how to leverage it to expand deal size, I polled the audience on a very important question; “How many of you believe  the decision makers are reading your assessment reports?”  Almost every attendee responded yes to the question – “Are you conducting assessments?”  Only 1 or 2 out of nearly 100 believed decision makers where reading them.

Sadly, a handful of attendees didn’t see this as a problem!  I asked them to relate this deliverable to a prospectus that might be used for investments.  The purpose of conducting an assessment, in most cases, is to find the issues and persuade the company you are working with to take action.  If they don’t take action – you’ve failed.  In other words, if there are indeed, urgent issues discovered, and there almost always are, then when the company fails to take action, they are missing something big.  You, being the one who really understands the issue, must see it as your responsibility to show them why it is so important, and how it should be addressed.  If IT people see it, but those responsible for budget don’t, what good is it?

So why do so many of these documents go unread?  Simply because they are assembled without decision maker involvement, and written without decision makers in mind.  Take a look at the documents you are writing (or which are written by your team) and ask yourself, “Would my business level clients be interested in this, or would they even understand it?”  If the answer is, “No,” some re-engineering is needed.  For those who still don’t see this as important, perhaps a wake up call is needed.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Here it is – ten minutes of review from my session at the Ingram Micro VTN invitational in Las Vegas – 2011!

© 2011, David Stelzl

 

 

From my Window

Back in Vegas, and looking forward to delivering a session from my new book, From Vendor to Adviser – which will focus on meeting executives and business owners using the discovery process, and moving from pure vending to truly advising…Hosted by Ingram Micro at the Aria this year.  Don’t miss it!

© 2011, David Stelzl

If it’s urgent, it sells now.  Medical emergencies don’t allow people to shop for the best price, the person in need just does it.  That’s why I like using security as a wedge product or door opener.  It demands attention when we can find something urgent; it might be a compelling event or an impending audit, or it might be something we discover through an assessment.  I’ll be giving much more on this tomorrow in my Demand Generation Webinar – which is free, but also completely filled up and has a waiting list.  But get on the list just in case (Click Here).  I want everyone of my readers to know how to do this!

But Security and medicine are the not the only ways to create urgency.  Having a limited supply, a limited amount of a certain type of resource, or having one of the only offerings in a certain niche, with limited capacity does the same thing.  A special offer with a limited time to buy does this for retail. An assessment that reveals large amounts of money being wasted – with a recommendation that will cut TCO by 50% certainly demands the CFOs attention.

Do you have urgent offerings?  If not, you need to create some.  Using your discovery process, risk analysis, a study of some type, or by creating something unique with limited availability – start thinking about how you can do this.  Without it, you leave money on the table every time.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Still working through those gut-wrenching negotiations.  You may have read about the Bait and Hook…what happens when purchasing reverses this strategy, using it on you?

First, if you have not heard of this tactic, it goes something like this…
When used by a sales person, they may find one key requirement in an RFP or other request, and put a heavy focus on it to eliminate the competition.  Then, once others are out of the way, begin working through the details.  The buyer doesn’t want to start over, and feels pressured to stay with their selection, while the seller begins to change the story around that one key provision.  Here’s what this might look like in reverse…

Purchasing Strategy

You’ve made your proposal and the client offers you the business…once accepted, they begin changing the scope on you.  The details have been left out of the agreement in this case because you are responding to their request, written by them.  In order to get more for their money, they begin pressuring you for more while threatening you with a withdrawal.  You’ve already committed this business on your forecast, and they know it.  It would be hard to go back and tell your managers that the deal is no longer on, so instead you compromise, allowing them to take advantage of you.

Counter Strategy

1. Most of these problems result from not writing up the agreement.  The deal happens quickly, so you assume everything is okay and go with the handshake.  Always email back the details when you talk by phone, and when signing up to do something, be sure to write up an agreement.  Use a change control process on all projects – and get them signed off on by someone with authority.  Using a project manager makes this much easier, as it allows the sales person to stay out of change management, instead, focusing on the relationship.

2 When there is a question on scope – get on the phone.  I recently had someone email me their side of a misunderstanding…in this case they were not pushing for scope creep but I wasn’t sure at first. An email is not the place to negotiate or clarify.  On the other hand, it is a great audit trail once you’ve ironed out things verbally.  I responded by phone, reviewed what was agreed to, came to a understanding so that everyone was happy, and then responded back with an email thanking my client for the question and restating what we had just agreed to. He in turn forwarded our discussion to his team and everyone was clear…there’s an archived email to reference if the question were to resurface.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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:

Negotiation Strategy

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.

Counter Strategy

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

Buddy! - Our new German Shepard puppy

Here is the ultimate negotiation…returning from my bike ride on Saturday, my wife and half of the kids greeted me as I pulled into the driveway with the other half of the kids and a van full of mountain bikes – with an offer to take me to see a German Shepard puppy.  I said no, but a few hours later I was the proud owner of a brand new puppy (pictured to the left).

Continuing on with Negotiations….Last week I briefly mentioned today’s strategy in the context of the Good Cop / Bad Cop ploy, but sometimes “I’m not the final authority,” can be used without a bad cop involved – just by the negotiator referring to someone up above…this works well, so be aware of it…

The Strategy

I find this to be more often used by managers than purchasing people.  “The boss will never go for this.”  This strategy makes it look like I would choose you if I could, but together, we must figure out how to reduce the cost.  You negotiator talks as if his authority does not want to know the details, but will not go for the proposed price.  This generally takes place even before a price has been submitted up the ladder.

You may hear comments like, “I’ll send it up the line and see what they come back with,” or  you might even get “Looks great, we’ll get back to you once everyone has a chance to review.”  In either case, the person you are presenting to is saying, “I can’t approve it.”  One of two things can happen at this point; either they’ll come back with a counter offer, or time will pass without any answer, putting more pressure on you, the seller.  When the time is right, they’ll come back, knowing you are now out of time.

As long as you think your negotiator is on your side, you are more likely to hand this all kinds of insider information that will help them get their best price. When the come back, they’ll have all the info they need, and you will be desperate and ready to cave in.

Counter Strategy

Like the Good Cop/Bad Cop, giving away information helps them take advantage of you.  As a trusted adviser, you want a trust relationship, however when the deal is built on value; your time lines, compensation, and margins have nothing to do with the sale as far as the client goes, so don’t go there.  Make the value in this deal all about them, deliver great value, and hold your price.

As I stated last week, refuse to negotiate with those who do not have authority to negotiate.  Instead, agree that they don’t have authority and insist on moving up.  This really should be done as part of the discovery process where you can leverage your need to cover all the bases and liability by interviewing those responsible for the ultimate success of the project.

© 2011, David Stelzl