Smarter negotiation coaching strategies are needed when people are selling scared.
Whether it’s new business or renewals, now is the time for increasing negotiating coaching and training investment. We’ve coached over 20,000 business negotiations worth billions over 15 years in 47 countries. We’ve learned much from this coaching and the impact of macrocycles (growth or deficit) on negotiation. The approach to negotiation in a deficit market requires a planning and execution cadence bordering on six sigma perfection. Negotiation planning is always important and the key driver of success.
Now is the time to take it to an entirely different level.
The game plan – an easy-to-implement but smarter negotiation coaching strategy:
- Identify all high-value or strategically important deals closing in the next 90 days.
- Identify coaches and teams responsible for those deals.
- Start a multiple-round coaching cadence.
- This includes an initial session on what we know and don’t know, and a plan to shore up what we don’t know.
- Shortly thereafter, a follow-up session to review what we’ve learned.
- Plan our approach for our team (coach and rep).
- Plan our approach for possible escalation to leaders and other cross-functional deal approvers.
Where to focus during coaching sessions:
This is a very important step in implementing cadence and rigor. To drive results, you need a tight process vs. each team focusing on their own idea of how to prepare for and execute negotiation. A haphazard approach is not scalable and doesn’t drive any organizational learning.
- Focus on the impact on multiple stakeholders on the other side of the deal in the event we don’t reach an agreement.
- Consider the shield you have for price and other concessions is “how you meet client needs at higher confidence and lower risk than alternatives.” Without that, we are more likely to concede under pressure from buyers.
- Invest your time to lay out what solution type you’re selling, what your customer’s business needs are on this transaction, and who is their most likely alternative (named competitor, do nothing, substitutes, etc.)
- Evaluate their decision criteria. If the various buying influences were making a decision to choose you or their alternative to you, what are the: hard and soft costs and benefits, for the short and long term, that they should consider.
- This results in the 2-4 items that present the reasons why to choose you vs. the alternative. These reasons are, in effect, your value and will inform you how aggressive you can be on concession pressure and pushback.
- Prepare a quid pro quo trading plan because you are going to get concession pressure. Which commercial terms will get the most pressure? Which value-creating items can be “traded” to take pressure off zero-sum concessions?
- Prepare 3 paths forward for agreement instead of just one. When presenting one option at one price, it’s practically guaranteed you’re going to be asked to lower the price of that offer. When you prepare 3 different paths forward at three different investment and effectiveness levels, it changes the conversation significantly.
If you want to dive into this approach, here is a link to Brian’s book B2B Street Fighting to help bring consistency to your cadence. You can get a free copy of Brian’s book when you register for a demo of CloseStrong.
You can learn more about CloseStrong – the hardest-working, smartest deal and negotiation coach you’ve ever experienced at our website! CloseStrong will help you multiply the effectiveness of your sales management team, deliver higher-quality deals, reduce discounts, improve pipeline quality, and increase forecast accuracy.