The sales landscape is constantly shifting and there are a million different perspectives on how you should be coaching your team and ensuring success. Sales techniques, technology, handoffs between sales roles, quotas, and more are constantly being juggled. A rep’s job is simple: don’t drop the ball.
Despite an influx of information and sales tips, the truth is that more sales reps are missing their quotas today than they did ten years ago. So where are sales leaders going wrong?
In our experience, it isn’t so much what you are doing, but what you are not doing that is keeping your team from knocking it out of the park each month. Here are five deal negotiation techniques that you may not be using today.
Asking More Questions
Think of each customer having a whiteboard with their needs, challenges, and priorities written down. Naturally, no two whiteboards will be the same. The only way to tell if you have a solution is worth their time is to find out what’s already on their whiteboard. Those will be the conversations they will make time for, because those are the problems they are eager to solve or the goals they are eager to achieve.
“Well, my team is great at asking questions.” Super. Do they give the prospect the chance to answer? Do they acknowledge the answer? Do they incorporate the answer into a conversation?
Far too many sales reps have a habit of asking a question, only to ignore the answer. They simply move on to the next feature that has no relevance to the client’s actual need or problem. Causing the prospect to disengage and effectively killing the deal.
Even if they do dive into the question chances are that they fail to reaffirm the need on subsequent calls.
Questions are essential to sales success. They can provide insights, help develop concrete next steps, and transform sales reps into consultants.
Every company is looking for so-called “hunters.” These reps bring a valuable skill set to the table, opening doors that otherwise might have otherwise remain closed. But what happens once the hunter is at the table?
Those same skills that are so coveted can actually be counterproductive once a negotiation is underway. If a sales rep isn’t able to transition from hunter to a trusted advisor, the probability that they close business is substantially lowered.
This is largely due to the fact that hunters can have a me-first mentality.
They actively pursue business with a single end goal – to make money.
On the surface, this isn’t a bad trait. But once you are at the decision-making table, “me first” is a counterproductive stance. To advance a win-win conversation, reps have to be Other-Centered.
Drop(ping) the Rope®
“Oh great, I have been waiting all day for a sales rep to call me about their product,” is a statement you will never hear from a decision maker. Regardless of your product or service, making deals requires some drive to get in the door. Once the deal develops, tension will build, similar to a tug of war.
A sales rep has a quota to meet and the buyer may not be gung-ho about hearing the pitch. Maybe they’re already resistant to paying for the service or solution.
If a rep isn’t closing enough business, it is likely because your reps haven’t learned to eliminate tension during the buying process. Choosing to Drop the Rope® means that reps lay down their right to bear arms, de-weaponizing the conversation and introducing neutrality.
In the real world, reps drop the rope attitudinally and conversationally. They may adopt a gracious, nonthreatening demeanor (rather than being boisterous and challenging). They’ll use specific statements to take the pressure off of the sales process. Something as simple as “Our solution might not be the best fit for your business,” shows that they are more interested in meeting a prospect’s needs than simply closing business. You’ll be amazed at how this shifts the scene and opens the floor for authentic, meaningful exchanges that define needs and advance deals.
Negotiating All Value
Your sales reps might not be presenting all of the value created throughout the sales process. After all, in B2B sales, there are more touchpoints and stakeholders and elements in the sales cycle than ever. It can be a lot of ideological ground to cover and reps may simply lose track of what is said, promised, or added along the way. Yes, as a sales leader, drilled in their heads the unique value proposition and any potential rebuttals that might come at each stage of the sale.
After all, the best reps are sales machines ready to increase your market share.
The hard truth is that your value proposition provides an incomplete picture. It fails to incorporate value that is uncovered during each interaction with a client.
Sales reps conditioned to leverage a prepacked value proposition may inadvertently ignore value adds that are revealed at each stage of the buyer journey. Looking at value as the sum of its parts allows you to approach the negotiation table with more options. Ultimately, the more options at your disposal the more likely you are to close business.
Dedicating to Win-Win
Do your reps know how to accomplish a win-win sale? There is no denying that it is the best possible outcome. Your customer gets a great product or solution and you get the deal
So why is it so rare, especially as an outcome of high-stakes negotiations? Reps tend to land on one side of the spectrum. While concessions are part of the game, it is never as simple as drawing a line in the sand.
If all reps do is give, they’ll lose. If all reps do is try to win, they’ll lose.
Many enterprise sales today are a series of wins along the way. First, the rep has to win a meeting (not easy). Second, the rep has to win an audience with the right people (concrete to carpet, maybe, or multiple players). Third, the rep has to understand what the prospect truly needs (deeper than surface level). Fourth, the rep has to facilitate sophisticated communication and negotiations. You get the idea. Along the way, they can be tempted to go into combat mode to bully through. But the win-win framework keeps reps’ eye on the prize: an other-centered approach — where they drop the rope — is their best bet to not just the immediate win, but a healthy, long-term client for the business.
Learn Better Negotiation Techniques With ASLAN
Every sales stage has unique challenges. That’s why we created unique sales training programs that are agile, customizable for every scenario and type of seller. Whether your team is in the field or working in a digital environment, the ability to effectively negotiate will help you meet your sales goals.
We take a hands-on approach and tailor our training programs based on individual positions and the goals of each management team. After a sales skills evaluation, we conduct sales workshops and provide ongoing support to make sure that your team stays on track. To learn more and schedule a consultation visit our website and connect with the ASLAN team.