BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) Woman tears agreement documents in front of agent who wants to get a signature

Why You Need Better than BATNA: Formulating a Defensible “Walk Away” Rationale in Negotiations

Either through becoming emotionally invested, getting pressure from leadership or being unable to analyze key factors that should indicate retreat, business negotiators often find themselves spending long amounts of time on deals of diminishing — or even illusory — value.

One of the cornerstones of negotiation theory is BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), advanced by Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) in their book, Getting to YES. Read more

How Sales and Negotiation Skills Training Can Fail the Front Line

I recently noticed and greatly enjoyed Dave Stein’s LinkedIn Pulse post, “If I Have to Sit Through One More B.S. Sales Training Class…” Dave discusses the major pet peeves of a sales “heavy hitter” who bristles at the thought of sitting through sales training meetings conducted by people who have never sold, don’t know sales’ specific challenges or how to have sales people leave the session with clear steps that will help them sell more.

Stein identifies a number of root causes for why sales leaders bring in the wrong training at the wrong time. If you have ever had a hand in sales training procurement at your organization, I highly recommend reading the post to see if you are walking into any of the pitfalls that Stein illuminates. Read more

Best Practices: Territory Business Management

Recently our friend and colleague, Jim Hale, published a blog on territory management and the art/discipline of applying multiple resources and time to effectively generate sustainable sales. In the end, winning Territory Action Planning (TAP™) results in increased customer satisfaction and relationships, higher win rates and overall better revenue and profit results. Because this is such an important subject, we reprise some of the best practices associated with TAP in this blog.

High performing sales teams manage territories like they are individual businesses to build strong sales pipelines, advance their sales opportunities and grow relationships with selected accounts. They have realized through experience that the sales territory is the superset of our sales assets, and that without the proper care and attention, we can put these assets at risk. Read more

Curiosity Killed the Cat (But It Made the Sale)


By Jim Hale, VP of Business Development, K&R Negotiations

In my work with sales teams all over the world, I am often asked about what is the most critical trait for a successful sales person. My answer is always the same: “Genuine curiosity.” Curiosity is like a Swiss Army knife with all the attachments. It gets the job done in nearly every situation and is easy to access once you’ve got it in your tool kit. Curiosity helps you:

  1. Build customer relationships. You will notice a different level of respect from your clients when you show an authentic level of interest in them as individuals and their company. Humans respond extremely well to this almost without exception.
  2. Read more

It’s not the ROI that Drives the Buy!

 

You may think arming yourself with facts and data will help you convert prospects into customers, but it’s more important that prospects believe you truly understand their business, the industry, the company, the LOB’s and the Individuals within the organization. This issue comes up time and time again in our interviews with clients, they want their solution provider to understand their business.

This is hardly surprising, since you can’t add value without having a clear picture of the business and the client’s position in the industry. Once you understand their business you can better understand the core business issue. The three critical components that drive the sale:

  1. Demonstrating that you truly understand what their business issue is, and how it negatively impacts the company’s performance (current state)
  2. Knowing what their desired outcome will be, and how that will improve their overall success (future state)
  3. Knowing the prospects “measurements for success” (not yours)

Read more

Why Disruptive Deals Are So Difficult (And Why Yours Can Work)

In a 2012 Harvard Business Review article titled “The End of Solution Sales,” authors Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, and Nicholas Toman identified a new way of selling being practiced by the cream of today’s sales professionals—usually B2B salespeople attempting to land complex deals.

These prominent authors identified a small percentage engaged in what they call “insight selling.” In contrast to the classic “solution sale,” in which salespeople engage with purchase agents to discover salient needs and align their solution with those needs, this new breed of insight seller identifies needs that potential buyers may not even be aware of yet. They identify opportunities in areas of flux, offer “provocative insights” about the customers and their business models, and become “buying coaches” for their clients. Read more

Do You Want to Be Successful? A Better Negotiator? Break These Three Bad Listening Habits

Forging a winning deal depends largely on your ability to gather as much information as possible about the other side’s market position, motivations and goals. This holds equally true at the organizational, departmental and personal levels. Better information means a more finely tuned value argument and increased credibility, both of which mean more positive leverage that will help you close.

Behind-the-scenes research with your team as you prepare to negotiate is a vital aspect of information gathering; the rest is gleaned from how you engage the other side in conversation. This may seem almost too basic to mention, but we are still surprised to see how many seasoned professionals fail to listen and thus don’t gather valuable information from conversations with potential partners, vendors or customers. Read more

Chief Procurement Officer Study: Implications for Sales Negotiators

closing big deals

The IBM Institute for Business Value recently released a new thought leadership study (Chief Procurement Officer Study: Improving competitive advantage through procurement excellence) Sellers who regularly deal with chief procurement officers (CPOs) or that CPO’s staff should read it.

The paper’s creators surveyed 1,128 CPOs from organizations with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion to understand how procurement has evolved at top-performing companies. The cost-cutting measures following the 2008 economic crisis increased the influence of many CPOs. In 2013, it is clear that top-performing CPOs have evolved beyond traditional procurement cost-reduction practices. Read more

Negotiation Examples: Managing Internal Conflict

negotiation examples managing internal conflict
Not all books on negotiation skills cover how to handle internal dissension or conflict during important negotiations. There’s a reason we included it as the third of K&R’s Six Principles™ of Negotiation: A team divided is a costly team.

Here is an example of how one of our seasoned negotiation consultants, “Hank,” handled a very difficult situation with a member of his own team before joining us at K&R.

Hank’s client had put together a strong team to negotiate a deal with an Israeli company. This was one of his client’s biggest deals ever in the country; huge commissions were riding on it. Read more

Negotiation Examples: Preparation is Key

sales negotiation

Often, successful sales negotiations rest on preparation. How do you go from hard work to successful outcomes? What’s the actual process? It’s preparation.

Preparation means always gathering information to gain an understanding of the motivations and objectives of the other side as well as our own. Without this understanding, we’re merely guessing at the terms (the requirements) that might satisfy the other side. How can you solve the other side’s problems if you don’t know what they are?

Good preparation also gives you confidence. Read more