Yes, but… is the typical reaction of a buyer who is not yet fully convinced of the benefits and the value created by your sales proposition. He/she is not interested enough to accept it as it is, and wants additional benefits. Or as the founder of Blueprint, Ronnie MacDonald said: “you haven’t pulled their heartstring enough”.
So, if we define selling “as a process of maximising the customer’s desire to buy, by providing the customer a proposition, product or service which clearly satisfies the established business needs and creates qualitative and quantitative value”, and negotiation “as the process of trading counterparts in order to reach a mutually acceptable agreement”, then we can easily draw the following conclusion:
The better you sell, the less you have to negotiate!
You probably recognise this from your own buying experience? If you really really want something, let’s say those expensive shoes that satisfy all your needs (perfect fit, trendy look, for business and private use, with minimum maintenance required) then you will most probably not argue the price, even if it is on the high side. But if the salesperson has not been able to convince you that this shoe satisfies all your needs (even if it is the same shoe), you will not be prepared to pay that same price and start to negotiate. You’ll require a discount or additional extras or you just don’t buy it.
And what if there is nothing to sell?
We are training one of the largest insurance companies in the world and we’re getting this question frequently: “I can’t sell a premium increase to my broker as there is no clear benefit for them. So I always have to negotiate the increase”.
We believe there is always something to sell. Some hidden benefit for the buyer. Even insurance premium or consumer goods price increases can be sold. The benefit for a buyer is the tremendous opportunity (and one of the easiest) to increase revenue or commission (broker), one of the KPI’s of a commercial business. Success depends obviously on the demand elasticity of their customers and the reaction of your and their competitors.
One can also sell “understanding” by demonstrating the necessity of the increase due to cost inflation.
So always prepare your sale
So, even if you think there is nothing to sell, take some time to ask yourselves the following questions:
And your negotiation
Remember that our buyers have more practice negotiating than we normally have. The only way to compensate for our lack of practice is by training your skills and by a world class preparation. So even if you cannot demonstrate the benefits of your proposal to the buyer, at least should you create maximum value with your trades during the negotiation
We’re not Harry Potter
Let’s be realistic, we’re not handing you a magic wand. Even if you sell your increase perfectly, the buyer will still fiercely critique and refuse the increase But we do know it will make the negotiation somewhat easier. Even if they do not show it. So always sell before negotiating!