Published on the 03/08/2017 | Written by Brian O'Doherty
Whether you are on the buy- or sell-side of software/services deals, the ability to cut through the sales BS is vital to a successful deal says Brian O'Doherty…
In today’s cut-throat and disrupted tech markets, you need to establish and negotiate from a position of strength. Being able to successfully close the right deals means the difference between surviving and letting your competition take business in your place. And, yes, that increasingly applies to both sides of the deal.
Often the prospective buyer has the upper hand (with the budget firmly in their fist), while the sell-side over promises and under delivers. Taking a moment to consider, and challenge, the perspective of the sales representative can help determine if there is any substance on offer.
Regardless of which side of the table you are on, here’s 7 things to look for in the sales conversation, as told from the perspective of a sales manager…
If you’re just putting your prospects through a spiel, they will know. Consumers these days are savvy enough to know they’re being pitched to, particularly if they’re big companies. The best way to gain engagement is be passionate and genuine about your product, right through to your bones. That transference of energy is irresistible in persuasion. As Vince Lombardi once said, “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”
Passion is the fire that comes from within and persuasion is the skill that turns it into gold. And, if your passion channels what you want to sell, then your conviction can turn each deal into a goldmine.
Don’t over-complicate the terms of a deal. The simpler you can keep an arrangement, the easier it is to understand and the more likely it is that your prospect is going to say yes. The more steps and layers, the more reason you give your prospect to pull out of the deal.
People love to tell you about themselves and their requirements. Keep asking them questions until you get the answer you want. Once you get people saying yes, you’ve already got the order. Besides, the only way to find out what someone wants is to ask – and be equipped with honest information.
There’s an old saying that’s rather poignant – win the argument, lose the sale. Tattoo it on your head. Even if a comment makes you feel entirely discredited, it doesn’t serve any useful purpose to get into an argument about it, so bite your tongue.
If you can stay calm and composed, if you can present an amiable demeanor despite provocations, you will gain a reputation for being pleasant to deal with — and become someone who will be recommended.
A good way to make people feel comfortable with your proposition is to let them know that they’ll be in good company. Bring up names of mutual acquaintances or emphasise others with whom you’ve had a great working relationship. This is the one time where name dropping is OK to help your prospects feel secure.
Be warned – authenticity is one of most treasured and rare things in any working relationship, so only mention people you’re genuinely connected with.
If you don’t know when to zip it, you can talk yourself out of a sale. Inexperienced salespeople babble on for far too long about the benefits of their product, long after the customer has heard enough to make a buying decision. In talking so much, they run the danger of raising topics or concerns that would never have occurred to the customer.
So, the golden rule when you reach the point of closing the deal is this: Say nothing. Once they’ve been sold, wait for them to sign the cheque.
There’s always a way to turn objections into dollars. Find a way to revisit areas of contention and rephrase your value proposition – in a polite and service-centred way. Your indefatigability serves only as evidence that you truly endorse what you have to offer.
Keep confidently moving forward and you’ll get another chance. And, if you follow the right steps – it will happen in due time without you souring any relationship.
In conclusion, relationships are everything in life. Both people need to walk away feeling happy after the negotiation as a viable outcome for long-term success. Keep bridges intact and doors open, because your focus, grace and good nature will ensure a triumph no matter the outcome.
Brian O’Doherty is MD of Sales As A Service (SAAS) and Novatech Ventures. He brings experience in sales execution and sales management, channel management, marketing management and general management functions and has managed teams in major markets across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific.