Keynote speaker & best-selling author, Jeb Blount, says there are many traps sellers fall into during sales negotiations. Discover what they are & how to avoid them in today’s podcast.
Dylis: Hi there, this is Dylis Guyan, and welcome to the Inspired Selling Podcast. The place where coaches, consultants, trainers, and business experts who sell to bigger businesses or would like to, discover how to attract, convert and retain more of their ideal clients on a consistent basis and avoid those awful peaks and troughs of cashflow that leave you really stressed and having those awful three o’clock sweats.
I have got a returning guest who I am delighted to introduce you to again and that is Jeb Blunt. So let me just tell you a little bit about Jeb first and then we can get into the meat of it. This is going to be a fantastic interview, I can guarantee. So, Jeb is the best selling author of 11 books, and I hope I’ve got that right Jeb, 11 books, yes. Including Sales EQ, Fanatical Prospecting, Objections, People Follow You, People Buy You, Fanatical Military Recruiting, and his latest book Inked. In this book you learn exactly how to go toe-to-toe with modern buyers, take control and win. That’s actually what we’re going to talk about tonight. We’re really going to get a bit deeper into the principles of negotiation. I love the name of your book Jeb, so welcome.
Jeb: Thank you so much. The third time on. So I know how to get on your show. I just have to keep writing more books. Like every time I write a book I get to hang out with you.
Dylis: Exactly. However, you don’t have to write a book, we could just hang out.
Jeb: That sounds good.
Dylis: It’s always so worthwhile. So I mentioned your latest book Inked, which people can see behind you there, those who are watching the video. You said buyers place sellers at the sales negotiation table and sellers gladly hand over their commission cheques, but it doesn’t have to be this way. So what do you mean? Could you explain to our audience? What do you mean by buyers’ place sellers?
Jeb: So if especially you know, if you’re a coach or you’re an entrepreneur, this isn’t just for sales professionals, this is if you’re selling into companies, there’s a couple of things we have to recognise. Buyers go to learn how to negotiate with you. Most buyers and companies are trained to negotiate and in particular they learn how to negotiate with people who are trying to sell to them. Because of that they understand how to use your emotions against you. They understand how to use particular gambits, for example, the carrot gambit, which is especially true if you’re like a coach or a trainer or an entrepreneur. They’ll say listen, if you can give me a break on this, I’ll give you something in the future. Even though that thing in the future never shows up, like it never appears.
So they know how to do those things. The problem is that we as sellers, people who are selling something to the buyer, we’re often really desperate to sell that because we need the business or we want to land a big account or whatever the case may be. So we fall or walk right into these traps. Now, I’m not saying that buyers are bad people. I’m not saying that they’re trying to do something nefarious. Their job is to get the best deal for their team, which is their company. They’re doing their job. When you’re handing your commission cheque away it’s not their fault that you’re doing it, it’s your fault.
Where Inked begins is with a basic premise and that is that first of all, most people who are selling into buyers, even though don’t shoot the messenger, cause some people aren’t going to like what I’m going to say, most of us suck at negotiating. We’re not good at it. We’re not good at it for a number of reasons. We don’t get a lot of training in it. We have emotional discipline issues because we really want to sell something. We have empty or weak pipelines, go back to our Fanatical Prospecting conversation. That creates a lot of problems for us. We’re desperate, whatever the case may be. But also buyers have more training. Buyers also have more power because they often have more alternatives. So there’s a lot of reasons why we walk in that way. What Inked is about is helping you level that playing field.
Dylis: Something I often see Jeb, and I’m sure that you see this too, is people putting forward proposals or presenting and they present about themselves, their company, how long they’ve been around and then they go heavily into product and so they get into this price war.
Jeb: That’s correct because when they do that, we’ll go back to sales EQ of course. Going back to Sales EQ, when they haven’t done deep discovery, when their presentation/ proposal is all about them, all about product, there’s nothing that differentiates you from another alternative. So if you think about the buyer, all the buyer is doing is looking at a set of alternatives. They can do nothing. They can do it themselves. They can do something completely different. They could choose between you and multiple other vendors that are looking at their business. So if they’re looking at all those alternatives and you don’t look significantly different than those other alternatives, then you’re all the same. If you’re all the same, the only thing that they have to differentiate you on is price or worse you lead with that.
When you start talking about discounting early on in the process, you basically say I’m negotiable. A great example of this is I was with a group of salespeople last week and we were working through like you’re giving your final presentation and closing the deal. One of the things that the sales people kept saying is like, our next step is going to be to approve the pricing. I was helping them understand this. If you say approve the pricing, you just said, I’m completely negotiable and you started a negotiation.
So we walk into that, but you’re exactly right. Discovery, this is what’s so important about negotiation is discovery creates negotiation. In other words, you can’t separate the sale process, being great in the sales process from effective negotiating. You have no ammunition at all at the negotiating table if you haven’t done deep discovery.
Dylis: Absolutely, and this is sort of a hobby horse of mine that I get on my soapbox about, that great selling is about asking great questions and of course doing your research before and being armed with all of that to allow you to negotiate or not.
Jeb: That’s correct.
Dylis: You know, to defend your price.
Dylis: Again, something I’ll see is that they will give a discount. They’ll say I’ll give you a 10% discount, but they don’t realise that what they’re doing is giving a much bigger discount because when you look at the margin, and if the discount is say 10% on 100,000 but the margin is only 20% let’s say. That works out at somewhere around a 50% discount.
Jeb: That’s correct.
Dylis: That’s madness.
Jeb: It is madness. At the very beginning of the book, there’s a chapter called The Devil is Discounting. There’s a couple of math problems in there that walks you through, like take a look at all your deals and then take a look at the percentage that you discounted off gross. So just take that and then just do some math. If you had discounted 2% less or 5% less or 10%. 10% less than that would be 1% right, so if you did that, then what would the impact be to both your bottom line and to your commission cheque, your earnings, and to your top line. For organisations that have multiple salespeople, there’s a math problem in there for you as well because if you look at discounting and you say you reduce discounting by 4%.
My consulting group, I was working with a group of salespeople with a company just recently and they were discounting at 22.5%. We wanted to move 4% off that, just move the discount from 4%. The drop through on that monthly was $1.7 million drop through profit a month by reducing discounting by just 4%. What we did was we didn’t take anything away from the salespeople. We allowed the salespeople the same amount of negotiating room. We just changed the way that they were selling and the way that they were presenting so that they weren’t discounting as much up front.
Now these are some small tactics, easy tactics that people from negotiating know. Most people who’ve been in any training of negotiation know that if you are negotiating even numbers, people get used to that. That becomes an easy pattern to ignore. Also, if you negotiate big upfront, so it’s not uncommon for me to watch a salesperson or an entrepreneur discount the entire amount that they have in one fell swoop like I can take 20% off of that.
Now they have no place else to go. Just teaching people discount 3% and oh by the way, like you were talking about 10% off $100,000 well 10% off $100,000 doesn’t sound that much until you say it’s $10,000 right? So if you said it’s a $10,000 discount, then you go, look, I can work with you on this. I’ve got maybe $1,700 to give that I can work with you on. $1,700 sounds like a lot of money, 10% does not. So it’s just teaching some salespeople some things like that. But even bigger is understanding value bridging, which is okay, I did discover, you told me this, if I understand the math.
So an example of this would be a rep I was working with who had gone through our sales negotiation skills training and then she went back to a buyer and the buyer said, ‘you and your competitor are just the same. They’re lower than you.’ She had done deep discovery and she understood the problem that this person was facing. The problem they were facing was that they had people on their payroll who had to go to the competitor’s location and wait there for two hours for the competitor to give them the product that they needed before they can move on. Those two people were costing this employer $20 per hour. So $20 USD per hour, over two hours per person is $80 bucks a day that it was costing this person just to go pick up the product. So she said, yes, I’m a little bit more expensive, but right now it’s costing you $80 a day, times five, which is $400 a week. I’m $100 more than my competitor on a per week basis for my service to you. So if you just do the math, I’m putting $300 a week back into your pocket.
The buyer reached across the table and shook her hand said deal, but the buyer wasn’t thinking that way. Like the buyer was just thinking, you know, I’m going to compare the two on price. Had she not done the discovery, had she not understood the metrics that mattered to this particular buyer; MTMs. If she hadn’t understood that then she couldn’t have done that, she would have just been in a price comparison and would have discounted her rates versus holding her rates.
Dylis: Yeah, exactly. Of course this also highlights the importance of understanding your competitors and knowing where your strengths and weaknesses are against your competitors. Generally, how many do you find Jeb, certainly with the clients I work with, there’s usually a maximum of five main competitors. So understanding that puts you in a much more positive position when you come to negotiation.
Jeb: Well, this is one of the things that we talk about in Inked in particular. That is that when we start thinking about our competitors, most buyers have far more information about our competitors than we do. There’s a couple of reasons for that. One, they probably entertained proposals from all those competitors, right? So they got the proposals, they have the information in. Secondly, they’re doing more research. Most salespeople are not trying to understand the competitors and not doing deeper research and in a lot of cases don’t have their hands on those proposals.
Now, one thing I’ll tell you that as a sales professional, I ask for relentlessly is if I want a deal I say, ‘would it be okay if I could have the proposals that my competitors gave you?’ And about half of the time they would give them to me. A lot of them wouldn’t, but about half the time they would say yes, they would hand them over and then I was able to study what my competitors are bringing in. Shockingly, a lot of times it was different than what my buyer was telling me they were getting from my competitor.
The other thing is that the buyers are in the marketplace, they’re studying, they’re researching, they’re doing things. Sales people are just thinking myopically on the next thing that they’re going to close and they’re thinking internally versus externally. So if you want to level the playing field, the one thing is you’ve got to know your competitors. The other thing is you got to understand that in some cases as a seller, almost everything that you know about your competitor and their prices you got from the buyer whos best interest is to tell you things that get them a better deal. Your education came from someone who is trying to play you because they want a better deal.
Dylis: Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s not hard for companies, you know, they can create a competitor information hub, just on their computer system. Whether it’s entrepreneurs and they’ve got a team of people in they’re finding information about competitors that they can just put it in. So it’s not having to repeat every individual having to do research. They can share that. They can share that with new employees who come into the company. Yet it’s not done. I don’t know why. I don’t know whether they’re just kind of engrossed in the job at hand an don’t think deeper.
Jeb: It’s hard work to put it together. I’ve got a couple of our clients that we deliver training for, part of their on-boarding process that we built for them is creating a competitor notebook. So essentially it’s kind of old school, but we make the person each week of their eight week on-boarding process have to go to one of the competitors, we give them a template and they have to go do the research and learn everything about those competitors. It really helps them from an experiential learning standpoint to gather that information.
Another thing that we do for our clients, because a lot of times our clients just don’t have time to do these things is we create competitor playbooks. So when a person is facing a particular competitor, they can either via, you know, a card system where they can go find the information or via an online app or an online website, they can go in, find that competitor and they can get different information so they can get an overall view of the competitor. What that competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are. How the competitor compares to the services and products they’re offering and some questions that they can ask. I’m not a big fan of denigrating competitors because it doesn’t really make you any better.
Dylis: I agree.
Jeb: If you get into the mud with the pigs, they’re going to get mud on you too and you’re going to look bad. However, you should be able to ask questions to get the person to become aware that they may have a problem. So for example, I used to have a competitor that when we were in competitive displacement situations, so we’re trying to move the competitor out. They had an MO, it was always the same. They would send a good cop and bad cop in. The good cop would be like, we love you, we love you, we love you. The bad cop would say, we’re going to sue you, sue you, sue you, if you leave us, costs you a ton of money, everything’s going to be bad.
So what I would say to my prospect is, ‘here’s what’s going to happen. You love my proposal, they’re going to come in and talk to you. It’s going to be good cop, bad cop. One person’s going to say they love you. One person’s going to tell you that they’re going to do everything to destroy you and that I’m going to tear your business up. I just wanted you to know what’s going to happen and you have to make the right choice for you.’ I would wait and my phone would always ring and they would be laughing on the phone, ‘it was exactly like you said.’ So what I was able to do is destroy my competitors credibility by showing them what was going to happen.
The other thing is I might say, a lot of companies don’t know how to evaluate a vendor. So I always ask, for example, what’s your evaluation process? What’s your evaluation criteria. In Inked, we give you a discovery framework called score. And the first two parts of score are success criteria and criteria for evaluation. So when you’re dealing with an individual, and especially when it comes to competitors, are you’re dealing with the stakeholders? Each stakeholder in a deal has success criteria of their own. That success criteria may be aligned with the success criteria of the enterprise, but often it’s their own personal interest. So especially in B2B, you’re selling to someone who is using someone else’s money to solve their problems. So you want to understand what the individual success criteria looks like.
But also you’ve criteria for evaluation. A criteria for evaluation is the enterprise level. So if we take the stakeholder group as a whole, they’re evaluating their alternatives, which could be doing nothing. It could be doing it in house, it could be different vendors. But they’re evaluating those alternatives as a group. Now, this is important because in a lot of cases, that group does not have a methodology for evaluating the vendors. So one of the things that you can do early on is you can at part of discovery is say, you know what’s the process that you’re going to use to evaluate your alternatives and pick the one that’s best for you?
So you asked them that question. If they don’t know then you can teach them. I lost a deal recently where my competitor had gotten in early, and it was a big training company and they had provided them with an entire like template for evaluating vendors and they were using it because they didn’t have anything else. The problem was is that evaluation template was geared to my competitors benefit. Like they built it for their benefit. Now I don’t have a problem with that. I mean I always tell my guys this is great, they crushed us because they got in early, so they had actually built that. You can do that with RFPs. You can do that when you get in early with groups. So if you can get there first and you can put that in their heads, then suddenly you can start changing the playing field because essentially what your job is from the very get go if you just think about it like this is to neutralise or reduce the number of viable alternatives that the buyer sees. Because the buyer’s power to negotiate with you is derived from the number of viable alternatives.
So we just go back to what you said. If you show up and throw up and you don’t look different than anyone else, all the alternatives either look the same or you get rated lower. If you’re able to go in and through questioning, through discovery, through building a better business case, through value bridging, which is basically taking what you do and bridging it to the problems that they want to solve or the challenges that they’re facing or the opportunities that they can capture with your product. If you can bridge that using their language, not yours. Suddenly you’re building a business case that they can buy into, which takes the other alternatives and begins to reduce or neutralise, you know, the value those alternatives have.
Now you have to do that at the enterprise level and the stakeholder level. So if you can get a stakeholder who sees only you as their viable alternative, then you have a much better job of moving the entire stakeholder group and that’s called motivation. So power is one. There’s three prongs at the negotiating table. One of those is power. Power is derived from alternatives. One of those is motivation and motivation is emotional, right? It’s a emotional motivation to do business with you. So with motivation, we’re focusing on the individual stakeholder. That’s why stakeholder success matters so much.
So if I’m both focusing on the individual stakeholder and the individual stakeholder becomes emotionally attached to me, think Sales EQ, think relationships, human connections, then that stakeholder says, I really, really want to do business with you. Then they’re much more likely to see other alternatives as viable and the more stakeholders that I have in the group that are motivated to do business with me, the lower their power, the weaker their power. So motivation is an inverse relationship to power. The more alternatives I have the less relationship can go the other way.
We’re using leverage, which is our ability to move people. Leverage is just our ability to move people as currency to engineer the process so that we can build our case which neutralises alternatives and create relationships which moves motivation upward. So that when we sit down at the negotiation table, the playing field is levelled. What we’ve essentially done is create a situation where the stakeholder group chooses us as the vendor of choice and then they negotiate, which by the way is rule number one of sales negotiating- win first. You have to win first, then you negotiate, you don’t negotiate before you win.
Dylis: Yes, absolutely. So I’m just going to go back a step then Jeb and just talk about the stakeholders and the relationships. I think this is in your Sales EQ book. I’ve read most of your books. I think it’s in there, although I’m waiting for Inked to come. I put the pre-order in, so that should be coming soon. Let’s take a scenario where you’re looking to get into a company and you’re aware maybe of two decision makers, two stakeholders but then you discover that there are more. At what point or how would you build that relationship? So this is my first question, how’d you build those relationships with the individual stakeholders who we know have individual motivations?
Jeb: So I mean the first thing is identifying the stakeholders. So mapping out the stakeholders and then when you map the stakeholders, you have to have a reason to meet with them. So for example, let’s say that you have a stakeholder group and one of the things that a lot of salespeople struggle with is, I go to the stakeholder and say I’d like to have a meeting with you. The stakeholders says look, I’m really not a part of this decision making process. So I don’t see any reason for us to get together. Essentially they’re saying, I really don’t want to waste an hour with a salesperson talking at me.
So we use leverage. So leverage is how we move people. If you just think about this, like we’re engineering the relationship. It’s not happening organically. We have to take control of that and it happens step by step by step, micro-commitment, by micro-commitment, multiple conversations. So I might say to the stakeholder, I might say, listen, I totally get where you’re coming from. The last thing I want to do is waste your time. However, we know that Stan is going to be making the decision and we know that he’s going to be taking a lot of people’s ideas and opinions into play or into consideration of what makes the decision. But he’s also going to be asking me questions as well, and I want to make sure that I’m advocating for you. So all I really want to do is sit down and listen to you so that I can learn about what’s important to you. So that when I’m in front of Stan, I’m your advocate. People don’t say no to that. That’s the leverage.
The reason it’s leverage is because I’m giving them an opportunity to talk about themselves and I’m making them feel important and the most insatiable human need is the need to feel important. If we go back to Sales EQ with each individual stakeholder, as I use leverage to arrange the meetings so I can get in front of them, then I have to go through a process of asking the five most important questions that that stakeholder is asking about me, and that is Do I like you? Do you listen to me? Do you make me feel important? Do you get rid of my problems and Do I trust and believe you?
When I’m answering those questions. If I do that in the affirmative, then it becomes almost impossible for them not to advocate for me because that’s essentially what I’m doing. So I’m using leverage. Leverage is information. Leverage is emotion. Leverage is anything that I have that I can use as currency to move that person toward me. Then as he moves towards me, then I’m able to sit down and build the relationship, gather up all the stakeholders and understand them.
I’ll give you an example of this. In my early sales career, I became really, really good at selling multi location company. So this would be a company that had a central decision maker that had multiple locations. I got to the point where I could almost not lose. I figured out a really simple formula. Typically I would go to the headquarters and say, you know, Beatrice was the head of purchasing and she was making the decision there and I would meet with Beatrice and we would go through all the details of the deal and we would go through, you know, listen to her. She would tell me the things that she wanted. We would tell her about us. But the problem was that she wasn’t really connected to the field. She was just making a central decision.
At that point, really all I had was if I could move Beatrice to want me more than someone else, but a lot of times it would really come down to who was willing to move on price because Beatrice didn’t really have any stake in it other than the one thing that Beatrice didn’t want to do is make people in the field mad at her. So her emotional thing was, I want to do worthwhile work and I don’t want people to be mad at me. People in the field on the other hand felt a great deal of resentment because the central decision maker was making the decision for them without their opinion.
So I would sit down with Beatrice and say, listen, here’s what I’m going to do today blah, blah, blah, blah. We’ll go through the process. My next step is I want to get your permission to go out into the field and interview the people at your locations to better understand their needs so that when I come back to you I’ll be able to bring a blueprint for how we can serve them the best and make you look good in the process.
Dylis: Then of course you get them on board as well and they become advocates for you.
Dylis: I’ve done it so many times. It’s fantastic.
Jeb: Exactly. All I did with them by the way was I would just go…because they had no decision making authority whatsoever. I would just go sit down and say, tell me what’s important to you. I would not talk. I didn’t pitch. I just listened and you know what happened? They would call Beatrice up and they would say this guy came in here and like he is…I like him, he’s great. All I did was listen. Then I would gather all this information. I would put it in a proposal and I would say, Gary said this, Mary said this, Bobby said this, you know, Raphael said this and I’ll bring it in and drop it in front of Beatrice and I was almost 100% on multi location deals because my competitors wouldn’t do it because it was too much work.
A competitor would show up, throw up, drop a price, say we’re the lowest and I would win because I would connect all the dots. But you have to do that. That was an intentional process of engineering the relationship so that I could either eliminate or neutralise perceived alternatives to doing business with me. As I did that, I reduced the buyer’s power over me at the negotiation table and increased the probability that they would do business with me at a price that would provide me with a margin and the commission that I deserved.
Dylis: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got loads of stories I could share with you about this. I’m not going to now, but one of the things that I find is hugely impactful is that not only is it giving you information that you can then leverage, but nobody’s listened to them before. Nobody has gone out and spent the time to talk to them and find out what’s going on, what’s important to them, what the challenges are and so on. So that along with the information that you get, it’s massive. You’re right, the competitors just don’t do it.
Jeb: That’s correct. You’re exactly right. But this is, this is why I think Inked is such a powerful book. It’s powerful because what it does is it connects all the dots. Like what we’re talking about is…and this is the problem with most negotiation training and most negotiation books that sales people read, is that those books treat the sales process as if it’s separate from the sales negotiation. You cannot disconnect those two things. They work together. From the very beginning, from hello you were setting up. What’s going to happen at the sales negotiation table.
For salespeople and for entrepreneurs and for business people. You’ve got to pay attention to this. You said this at the very beginning, those discounts, those terms and conditions that you are giving away have a massive negative impact on your business. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have to negotiate and it does not mean that you’re not going to have to give discounts. You will and buyers are going to focus on price and fixate on price. They’re going to do that, but your job is to win for your team. Your job is to make sure that you get the margins that you deserve while also preserving the relationships that you have. But giving it all away costs you so much money down the road.
Dylis: Absolutely, of course the end of the thing is if you give 20% discount this time, you have to give 20% the next time. When they refer you to someone else and they give the information ‘and you make sure you get 20% discount because that’s what he gave to me.’ It’s like a vicious circle.
Jeb: That’s exactly right. And even worse, one of the things that happens is when you give, like if when you give everything away at the negotiation table, for you the person who gave it all away to get the deal, when you walk away, in your heart of hearts, you feel resentful, you feel like you were used, you feel like you were taken advantage of. You don’t feel good about yourself. So it impacts how you feel about yourself. That’s one of the big problems. At the same time, you sometimes discount so much that it takes away your ability to provide the service levels that your prospect or customer is expecting. So you’re not able to take care of them.
Even worse as you go down the road and you realise that you’re working on an account that you deeply discounted to get, and that account is beginning to take you away from opportunities that you could bring in at a higher price, you begin to resent your client, which creates contempt, which ends up destroying the relationship down the road. We talk a little bit about that in the book about how contempt and resentment are the gangrene of relationships. So much of that is created at the sales negotiation table.
By the way. It goes both ways. If you’ve got a client and they’re in a weak position and you can absolutely take them out at the jugular. If you do that, you can also create resentment on the other side, which will destroy your relationship. So we have to win for our team and we have to maintain the relationships. One thing to think about as you start thinking about the emotion of the table, most of your buyers aren’t thinking that way. Most of your buyers aren’t thinking, okay, well if I take all the money out of this deal, they’re not going to be servicing me. They’re not going to be able to service me. Not all buyers think that way, but most of them don’t think that, they just think I need to win. So you have to also at the same time have emotional control so you can be the adult at the table and make sure that if you have to walk away from a deal because it’s going to hurt the long term relationship you do.
I’ve walked away from a number of deals that I could have won if I discounted, but I waited because I knew that my competitor would come in at a really low rate, then they will provide them with terrible service and then I’d be able to win the deal back after they had that experience at a higher rate. It’s worked out very well for me to do that over time.
Dylis: Yeah, so really you need to understand and know what your walk away figure is, and understand the additional value that you’re bringing, when they’re starting to play the competitor against you.
Jeb: That’s correct. You have to know your limits. So you know, you look at it…we have a, it’s basically a sales negotiation map. It’s really simple thing, right? So if you look on both sides on one side, you have the upper limit for you and this is my limit. On the other side the limit for your buyer, another side, you have a limit for you. Your proposal is typically the starting point. So my proposal is the anchor. When you start looking at your negotiating positions, you want to look at what’s my anchor and then what are my fall-back positions to a place that would be optimal for me. So I know I’m going to give something away in a lot of cases.
Now, if I do my job right, by the way, a lot of times if I do my job right and I would say probably in the neighbourhood of about half the time, they’re just going to say yes to your proposal because you did everything right, built a case, eliminated alternatives, own the stakeholders and they just say yes cause it was perfect. But what I try to negotiate backwards to is a place where I’m still making my profit. I can deliver for my customer, I can do all the right things and it’s okay. After that you’re basically negotiating to your limit zone. This is a place you have your proposal, you’ve got a target, you have a limit. After the limit, that’s your walk away position. That limit is going to be not just price but also terms and conditions.
So if you have terms and conditions that don’t allow you to take care of the client, it becomes a problem. I walked away from a really big deal last week because the terms and conditions that the client was insisting on, were going to make it really hard for us or create really bad unintended consequences down the road. I wasn’t willing to sign up for that. I hated losing the deal, but I had to do it and they might come back. We don’t know, but I’m not willing to sign up for those things. You need to know what those limits are and what you can and cannot negotiate.
Part of that for salespeople is building something called a give-take playlist. So a give-take playlist is simply this. There’s two types of leverage. One type of leverage gets the buyer to bend to your will during the sales process. The other type of leverage gets buyers to stop negotiating. So once I know what my limits are, so what’s my limit zone? This is far as I can go and I know what my anchor is, so then I need to build a list of all the things that I can give away. I now want those things I can give away to be non-monetary if possible. Funny money. Things I give away that have low value to me but high value to my prospect and I want to look at things I can take.
So if you think about what you said, which was brilliant, right? I’ve got to do discovery and learn. As I’m doing discovery I’m asking questions. The stakeholder group, think success criteria and evaluation criteria. The stakeholders are telling me this is what I want in the deal. So I start making a list. So as I put my proposal together. I have all these things the stakeholders wanted. Then as they start negotiating with me, what I can take away are the things that they put in the deal. Not what I put in the deal what they put in the deal.
So you say, well look, we need a better discount. I go, great. I can give you this, but I’m going to have to take out the free training for your people when we implement the software solution. And what I’m trying to do is take away stuff that create enough pain that they say we’re good. We don’t want to negotiate anymore. Through that give-take playlist, creating that pain of taking things away, then they all stop and once they stop we can get deal alignment.
Dylis: And again, this highlights the importance of breaking down your proposal into the different elements so that, it’s easier then for you to take things away.
Dylis: Particularly when they’ve asked for them. It’s interesting because the salespeople, and you and I both know that many sales people aren’t trained particularly well on negotiation. It’s even worse than that. If I can use those words for our consultants, coaches, trainers, entrepreneurs, business experts and so on. They don’t plan, they don’t know what they’re anchor is. They don’t know what their walk away point is. They haven’t itemized everything so that they are in a position to be able to take away. Of course, often they don’t understand the competitors haven’t done the research. So there’s a lot of elements in there.
Jeb: Exactly. Along with that, a bad habit of bundling everything together at the very beginning. Hey, I do this, this, this, this and this. Rather than listening, doing discovery and then putting the proposal together, even if you give something away normally, but putting it in as an extra and putting a value behind it. We have a program that we provide, and we have some additional services that we use in that program. We did this recently. We put a value on that giveaway that we normally had. I show my sales people, you know, how to deal with the negotiation, and the person came back and said, can we go a little bit lower on this? And we said, sure, we need to take this out. It was a $10,000 giveaway and they went, no, no, no, no, no, I want that.
We said, well, there’s no way that we can provide this if we leave this in there because this is what it’s costing us to provide this to you. Very quickly, I mean, that was the only conversation. They said, that totally makes sense to me. Sign me up. I’m ready to go. That was the length of the negotiation. It was, I mean, literally five minutes long, but all we had to do is take it away, our first give-take and they said, no, no, no. I want that. They weren’t willing to leave it. So they’re willing to keep it in. But by the way, they had already chosen us as their vendor of choice. It wasn’t like they said, well, I’m talking to your competitors, talking to this, talking to this, talking to this. What can you do for me? I don’t negotiate under those circumstances.
If a person says, I’m talking to everybody, I’d go great, go talk to everybody, go figure it out. Then when you’re ready to move, we can have a conversation, but I’m not negotiating with you until you’ve chosen me as your vendor. You know a lot of people listening to this or watching this are thinking how in the world do you do that? Like how’s that possible? But that’s made possible because I’ve got a full pipeline. I am not beholden to any one deal ever. If you were beholden to any one deal, you can’t do that. But if you negotiate before you’ve been chosen either explicitly or implicitly as the vendor of choice, and we don’t have time for this, but read the book and you’ll understand how this works. If you negotiate before that, you’re negotiating with yourself. Like you’re competing with a vendor, you’re in a bidding war, but you are not negotiating. Negotiating happens after they say, I want to do business with you, but. If they wanted to do business with me, but, negotiating is figuring out how we close the gap on that but.
Dylis: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I know it will all be in the book. As I said, I haven’t received it yet and I can’t wait.
Jeb: It’s because you’re in England they can’t get it to you yet. It’s going to be March.
Dylis: I know.
Jeb: I don’t know. We got to tell Lisa to send you one. I’ll tell Lisa to send you one.
Dylis: Okay. Okay. That would be super. That would be my bedtime reading, my bath reading, my train reading. So Jeb, where can people get your book first of all? So tell us how they can get in touch with you. Any free resources that you’ve got and how to get your book of course.
Jeb: Awesome. So let’s start here. If you go to www.salesgravy.com/inked, If you go to that, you’ll go to a landing page and that landing page is a place where you can get $3,000 worth of free resources when you buy the book. So all you do is put your name and your email in and your receipt number from wherever you buy it. Whether it’s Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you’ve got different bookstores in the UK, Google Play, iBooks wherever. If you buy it there, put the receipt number in there and then that’ll open the door. There’s instant downloads and there’s also a link over in a code there to get into our free membership site that’s got even more resources. So we’re talking about well over $3,000 worth of resources. If you go there, then there’s a couple of buttons that you can click.
The easiest, fastest way if you’re in the U.S. is Barnes & Noble or Amazon. I don’t know all the bookstores in the UK and in Europe or South America, Australia, but the book is being shipped right now into those countries. You can get it there, but the Kindle book will be available in the UK. I’m in all over the world, so you can get that and download that now or on iBooks that’s available and on Google Play that’s available so you can just download the Kindle. But the hardcover is coming in. We are going into the studio, if my voice gets any better. It may get delayed if my voice doesn’t get better. But right now we’re going in the studio at the of February to make the audio book, which will be out in April. So for all the audio book listeners, that’ll be coming soon. But if you’re like me, I typically buy the audio book and I buy either the hardcover or the eBook.
Dylis: So do I.
Jeb: So I can read along and have them both because I like that. So you can go there, but if you go to www.salesgravy.com/inked, you’ll be able to grab the book itself. So go do that. I mean you’ll be getting the free resources. If you want to find me? I’m @salesgravy on Twitter. I’m @salesgravy on Instagram. I’m @salesgravy on Facebook. My fan page is @Jebondemand on Facebook but if you just type me in, you’ll find me there, Jeb Blount. I’m on LinkedIn. You type my name in there you’ll find me on LinkedIn. I’m out basically out of connections right now on LinkedIn but you can click the follow button and you can find stuff that I post.
Usually I’m all over the place on LinkedIn. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes my only email address I have, so please don’t spam me, but if you have a question or what have you, you can call me or send me an email there and go to www.salesgravy.com or jebblount.com to learn more about me speaking, that type of thing. On sales gravy, our training, consulting, that type of thing and our phone number is there. So if you want to call our office, you’re welcome to call in. Sometimes I’m here, like right now I’m in my clubhouse, so sales gravy club house and we can hang out there. Thank you so much for having me on your show, again, I feel like I’m special, I guess.
Dylis: You are special. Thank you very much Jeb. It’s been an absolute pleasure as always. I hope you’ll come back again for a fourth time.
Jeb: I’ve got a brand new book coming out this fall called Business Outcome Selling Strategies. It’s a book on how to land, expand and retain large accounts. So that’ll be out in the fall. Then I’ve got another two more coming out in the next year, so we’ll hang out a lot.
Dylis: Fantastic. That’s brilliant. Have a wonderful rest of the day. I know it’s morning for you over there, and thank you and I look forward to speaking to you next time Jeb.
Jeb: Thank you.
Dylis: Okay, bye for now.
Jeb: Bye. Bye.
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