How to Run a Bulletproof Negotiation

Negotiation is one of the most difficult, and in my opinion, poorly understood aspects of the sales process.  If there's at least one thing I've learned about leading sales reps, epecially less experiences ones, they do not know how to negotiate effectively.  Even if they run a flawless sales process, they give up loads of value after having created so much in everything they did prior.  While the customer ultimately gets the better end of this deal, it's not effective for building a business over the long term.  Heavy discounting erodes margin and eliminates a business's ability to invest back into their own people, which in turn, limits the quality of the total customer experience.   

All Posts

Improve Lead Quality Now: The Single Best Question to Ask on Landing Page Forms

Take a look at this landing page.  Can you tell what's wrong with it?  Well, there are a few things, but the biggest thing that stands out to me is the form on the right hand side itself.   So what's wrong? 

Where Most Landing Pages Go Wrong 

Unfortunately, when I talk with prospective customers and ask them if they have any landing pages built, they usually say, "Yea, of course, we have a bunch."  And then when I ask them to show me what those forms look like I typically see one of three things. 

Landing Page Mistake #1: The "Contact Us" Page 

The main problem with this type of landing page is not the landing page itself.  Instead, it's that 96% of website visitors are not ready to contact your business on their first visit.  However, about 99% of businesses I speak with have the Contact Us page as their ONLY landing page on their website.  They will then go on to tell me that they don't get any leads through their site, at which point I'll explain this problem to them and suggest alternative, or additional content offers on their site that are more "middle" (Webinars, Consultations, Assessments) or "top of" (Ebooks, Guides, Checklists) the funnel. 

Landing Page Mistake #2: The "Road to Nowhere"/ Direct PDF Download 

This is an incredibly easy mistake to fix.  Many businesses will actually have a TON of content on their website, but it will not be gated behind a simple form.  I see this most often on manufacturing and construction websites.  Why, I'm not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with the wealth of product spec sheets they have for their products online.  This doesn't do you any good AT ALL.  Now, I also don't think you should gate every single piece of content on your website, but every time you do have a new piece of content, ask yourself, "If I'm in the prospect's shoes, would I at least be willing to give over my real email address and real name in exchange for this piece of content?"  If the answer is no, don't gate it; or, find a way to make the piece of content more valuable.  

Landing Page Mistake #3: The "Las Vegas" Landing Page 

At face value, this landing page actually looks pretty good. Right?  Clean.  A ton of stuff to do on the page.  Testimonials, more information, a "nice looking headline".  WRONG.  The problem with this page is that it actually has TOO MUCH going on.  Instead, the best practices for a landing page are as follows: 

  •  No Navigation 
  • Clear and compelling headline that explains the offer 
  • An Image -- I know this sounds ridiculous, but it's true... We're only human 
  • A clear and CONCISE (use bullets) description of the offer 
  • A crystal clear form with a call to action, such as the one here, "Request Your Free Assessment"


Credit to HubSpot for this landing page example:

Where Most Forms on Landing Pages Go Wrong 

Now that we have some of the basics on landing pages out of the way, and assuming you've actually followed some of the best practices on landing pages themselves (see above), it's time for us to think about the form on the right hand side of the page. 

First, a few basics: 

  • The form should be mostly above the break (visible to the user without scrolling down the page) 
  • The form should not be too long -- ideally, you're either using progressive profiling that captures more information over time, or you're keeping the form to only a few questions (three to five) on the first visit.  

But that leaves us with the question of the form itself.  What questions to ask? In my experience, I most often see: 

  • First Name 
  • Last Name 
  • Email 
  • Company 
  • Phone 

Are these fields bad?  No, not necessarily.  However, they're not exactly super helpful to a sales rep that is then calling on this lead.  It doesn't  provide the rep with much new or valuable information that he or she can use to initiate a sales conversation.  And that leads me to... 

The Single Best Question to Ask on a Landing Page Form 

It's pretty simple, and depends on your industry.  The absolute best question that HubSpot (having worked there now for almost four years) has been, "What's your biggest marketing challenge?"  Of course, for HubSpot this makes sense because we sell a marketing software platform.  If you don't sell a marketing software platform, or products/ services for marketers, this probably isn't a good question.  Instead, think about your industry and what problems you solve, or what sorts of problems (or challenges) your customers might have.  Do you solve security problems for CIO's?  Do you solve engineering problems for VPs of Engineering?  Basically, all you have to do to make this question relvant to your industry/ business is to rephrase the question.  So if you're selling a security soluion to engineers, the question might be something like this, "What's your most pressing security management challenge today?" 

You might even follow this question up  by asking what else is at the top of this person's priority list.  Or, simply asking them "What's your biggest challenge?".  You'll probably be amused at some of the crude responses, but you'll also probably be pleasantly surprised when you see how much information people are willing to share without even knowing you or your company.  

This is incredibly powerful because once it's in the sales reps hands, they have a PERFECT starting point for their conversation... "Hi Brian, I saw you came by our website and downloaded XYZ.  You also mentioned your biggest challenge is X.  What were you looking for help with?"  

If you have highly effective questions that enable sales teams to do their job more effectively, please add your learnings in the comments! 

What's Your Biggest Sales Challenge? Click to Schedule a 30 Minute Consultation

Brian Signorelli
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Brian Signorelli

Landing Pages: The Do’s and Dont’s

Improve your forms, page structure and overall leads. Fusce dapibus

Get Your Copy
Recent Posts

How to Run a Bulletproof Negotiation

Negotiation is one of the most difficult, and in my opinion, poorly understood aspects of the sales process. If there's at least one thing I've learne...

Read more

The Critical Importance Of Lead Validation In Internet Marketing

A guest blog post, by Aaron Wittersheim. Aaron is the Chief Operating Officer at Internet marketing agency Straight North. Every click your company’s ...

Read more

Why Humans May Be the Bug in Your Company's Sales Process

That’s probably the last thing you expected to hear from a career salesman.Sure, it’s easier to claim “relationships are the cornerstone of every sale...

Read more

Using 3D Animations as a Sales Tool

This is an interesting guest post and infographic from Ghost Productions. I'd be interested in getting your feedback on this to see if sharing more of...

Read more