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.
Up until about the mid 1990s, salespeople got in touch with their buyers over the phone, in person, and through direct mail or direct advertising. Then, in about 1995, a little business called AOL popped up and we all came to absolutely love hearing, "You've Got Mail". Shortly after, in early 1997, Microsoft released Office 97 which included Exchange Server 5.5. At about the same time, Yahoo! and Hotmail came about, also offering email alternatives to AOL.
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