Picture this scenario for a second. Everything goes smoothly with your prospect, you are ready to take the final steps, and a deal looks good until suddenly, your prospect comes to you with some final requests for accommodations on deal structure, deal pricing, delivery, etc.
Now, what do you do?
You have worked so hard to get the deal to this point—surely you don’t want to lose it now. But then again you were confident in your position and now that confidence is a bit shaken.
What if you tell your prospect no? Will the deal crash?
Coaching salespeople for the last 12 years has caused me to conclude that most salespeople are not very effective at what Objective Management Group calls the negotiator competency.
The competency includes the following 11 elements:
- Seeks to win/win
- Willing to walk
- Manages appropriate amount of patience
- Able to listen & ask questions with ease
- Controls emotions
- Problem solver
- Doesn’t need to be liked
- Rejection proof
- Sells value over price
- Comfortable discussing money
In my judgment, the most powerful of these elements is the willingness of the salesperson to walk away. Of course, that presumes the salesperson has another deal to walk away to. As my colleague Jack Kasel here at Anthony Cole Training Group says, “Weak pipelines make cowards of us all.” Even the most courageous of salespeople have a hard time walking away (even when they should) if the pipeline is on the thin side.
I have enjoyed reading the excellent book by Chris Voss titled Never Split the Difference and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here is just one nugget from Chris:
No deal is better than a bad deal.
Even with a thin pipeline. Even with the pressure that is on you to produce. Remember that an outcome of no deal is always better than the outcome of a bad deal. And what about the last call from the prospect asking for accommodation? Here is my advice. Assuming you need to go to someone higher up to get the prospect’s request approved…and assuming you want to give the accommodation…ask your prospect what happens if the accommodation is approved? Where does that leave us?
Never go seeking the accommodation unless you know exactly where you will stand if the accommodation is granted. Otherwise, it might be in your best interest to walk.