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.
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” or “there is no replacement for human interaction.” Doing so would have made me more comfortable during my time as a frontline rep. It would also be a convenient, soul-warming way to think of the value my colleagues and I provide. But it is not true.
If you've been working in sales at all for the past few years, you've probably noticed that the sales environment is more challenging than ever. And if you've been working in the sales world for ten years or more, you know the traditional model has been completely stood on its head. Buyers are in control today!
As we know from Corporate Executive Board research, over 60% of the buying process has already been completed before a company speaks with a sales rep. If this statistic is old news to you, here are a few more data points for you to chew on.
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