Skill In Handling Your Product During A Presentation

If you are to succeed in selling a product during a presentation you must exercise skill in presenting that product. You must build up confidence in the prospect by immediately showing him that you know what you are doing. The prospect can visualize the qualities of the product by the way you operate it. Make sure you are proficient in the way your fingers move around both with and on the product. This is most important.

You should avoid unnecessary operation and handling of the product. By doing this you can relay a sense of being unfamiliar and untrained regarding the product. It can also impart the feeling to the prospect that you do not know what you are doing.

Practice using your product on the prospect’s own applications, if that is possible. Try using it in the customers own familiar surroundings. Nothing makes more of a connection with the prospect as seeing his own applications being performed in familiar surroundings.

As with anything in selling, practice until you are smooth and proficient in your presentation. Nothing is worse than stumbling and bumbling in front of a customer. Remember practice leads to confidence and confidence to success.

Show skill in handling your product during your presentation:

1-Exercise skill in presenting the product.
2-Avoid unnecessary operation or handling of the product.
3-Try to practice your presentation on the prospects own applications and in his own familiar surroundings.
4-Practice using your product until you feel you are proficient in its handling and use.

In this case familiarity does not breathe contempt, it leads to sales.

Art of Negotiation – Knowing When and What to Negotiate

As a professional sales person how good are you at negotiating? The answer lies in the size of your pay check, so don’t kid your self and say you are great at negotiating if your pay check is consistently small, by small I mean less than $250,000.00 per annum! I personally would not be happy with a pay check of that size, so I would make it my business to learn this skill and hone my negotiating skill into an art form.

Professional sales people must understand this simple truth: Selling and Negotiating are totally separate phases of the selling process, most sales people are poor to average negotiators, and believe that negotiating is all about reducing the price to finally achieve a sale, little wonder then that the customer expects this and tries to squeeze the last ounce out of the sale person that they are dealing with and usually are still not satisfied. Have you as a sales person experienced this?

You definitely would have, as today’s informed and savvy customer is continually bombarded both electronically and by the media and friends to never pay list price for any thing and in fact to ask the sales person these Fatal questions “What is your best price?” or “I have been offered this price from your competitor down the road, can you better it?” You may be asking at this point yeah I have so why have you called it a Fatal Question? Fair question and here is my answer, to a professional sales person this question is fatal, as the customer is taking control of the sales process putting the sales person into a price point corner, either way the sales person stands to lose once they allow themselves to be dragged into this quag mire, if they make the sale their commission is affected dramatically so a lower pay check and if they lose the sale their pay check and their self esteem is damaged. Lose- Lose, so can you now appreciate how important the skill of negotiating is?

Here is another question, has a customer said this to you “Just tell me what the price is?” What is the customer doing? Do you know? If you do, do you know how to neutralize it? Keeping the customer happy and involved?

How often has this happened to you? and how have you handled this situation? Have you gone straight into giving the customer the price and then had the customer say “Thanks I will think about iy and get back to you” Yup it has happened right?

Negotiating is an art that right an ART, something that superb sales persons do extremely well, in fact none of my customers have ever paid less than the price I have asked for! Can you say the same?

Before you enter the negotiating phase you must do so after you have answered these two questions, 1. Do I know the customers needs? 2. Does the customer appreciate what is on the table? If the answer to either of the questions is no, you are not ready to negotiate, slow down, regain control and go again. If the answer is yes, you are ready to start the negotiating phase. Let us just go back a step and see how we would handle a customer that is insistent and wants to know the price, the easiest way that I have found to handle this situation is to go along staying in control for example “Yes, customer, we can discuss price, could I ask a few questions to get the details I need to assist you better?” At this point the customer may still refuse to give you information that you require average sales people succumb at this point and give them the price, (either specific or ballpark) this practice is risky as you have now lost control, getting control back from this position is difficult and you will now get squeezed by your customer, resulting in a smaller pay check for you.

If the customer is insistent, work to get below the surface to the customers specific need with out establishing the need. Why? Knowing the need allows you several ways to meet your objective whereas a Demand is narrow leaving you with few if any choices to satisfy. Selling on price is damaging for your pay check and your companies long term viability, companies need to make a profit to survive, so don’t give it away freely!

Negotiation is a tool that you use to preserve your price and terms. I learn’t this when I went into our local Mercedes Benz dealer ship lately to purchase the new Mercedes SLS Gull wing I asked the sales person for the best price without allowing him the time to get into the sales process, he was a superb sales person and turned my question on price around seamlessly getting me to give him the reason “needs” at no time did he ask me to make an offer and when price was eventually discussed it was when he was ready for the negotiating phase and I was made to feel that the price was minor in comparison to what was on the table. I paid full price that is the art of negotiating by a superb sales person, little wonder he is the highest paid and holds the number one position for Mercedes Benz sales in Australasia.

You can as well once you have mastered the art of negotiating.

Unlocking a Successful Negotiation Strategy

Are you approaching all your commercial negotiations with a standard approach? Should you only use a win/win approach to negotiations?

Traditionally, negotiated outcomes can be classified into one of the following categories:

  • Lose/Lose (all parties lose)
  • Win/Lose (I win and you lose)
  • Lose/Win (I lose and you win)
  • Win/Win (we both win – could also be described as compromise)
  • Win More/Win More (we unlock synergies – could also be described as being collaborative)

Whilst I agree with the notion that a win/win approach is the only sustainable way to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace, it is well worth considering the practical application of this approach in today’s global marketplace. It would be short sighted to conclude that all negotiations are made equally and should therefore be approached in the same way.

It would be similar to say that one nation’s culture & beliefs are the appropriate culture and therefore the standards that apply to that culture should be applied in interacting with people across the world, irrespective of their background.

Guns OR Butter

There is another dimension within the context of commercial negotiations that should be considered – the old economic dilemma of ‘guns or butter’. The ‘guns or butter’ story illustrates that with limited resources, organisations and individuals are forced to make choices. In order to have more butter, one must sacrifice guns and vice versa.

In a practical sense this means that resources can only be allocated in relation to the relative strategic importance of the activity at issue. In the case of negotiations that are considered strategic in importance to the organisation, we are more likely to pursue a collaborative or compromising approach.

Conversely, when we deem the outcome of certain negotiations to have a limited impact or no impact at all on the achievement of strategic organisational objectives we could decide to be competitive in our approach or even to avoid negotiation completely. We would not be responsible stewards of corporate resources if we were to approach all negotiations in a similar fashion.

Collaborative Approach

There is also a philosophical dimension to the approach to negotiation pursued by many organisations. Some organisations are renowned for their collaborative approach to doing business whilst others have a reputation for a mercenary approach to conducting business. Some players in the retail sector have reputations of dealing ruthlessly with suppliers – they rationalise the approach by arguing that it is in the interest of the consumer.

Whilst I agree that this approach is short sighted and probably not sustainable in the long run, it would be naïve not to recognise the fact that, at least commercially speaking, a lot of organisations have little interest in collaborative or compromising type negotiations within certain departments.

It is interesting to note that whilst most organisations pride themselves on providing ‘solutions’ to the issues confronting their clients, a significant proportion of their so called negotiations actually revolve around haggling about price. I have no doubt that there is a sincere intention to engage on a solution based principle it just seems that this is much easier said than done where the rubber hits the road. A lot of the time companies’ stated intentions to engage on a win/win based principle is similar to the new year’s resolutions so many of us make every year.

Negotiation Strategy

There is scant chance of us achieving our resolutions without putting in place a supporting plan and taking action to achieve our goals. Many organisations lack a clear organisational negotiation strategy & process which exposes them to the risks associated with a huge variance in the results of their negotiated agreements.

Organisations and individuals should recognise that collaborative negotiation demands the investment of significant resources. In order for us to be truly collaborative, we have to spend much time getting to know each other. In a commercial context, this plainly does not make sense in some cases. Consider the purchase of a pure commodity such as paper for a small or medium sized organisation – if there are no value added services presented or required, it would be sub optimal to pursue a collaborative relationship with the provider of such a commodity. It would make more sense to pursue a competitive approach to the procurement of paper than a collaborative or even compromising approach.

In practise, many organisations would approach the purchase of paper or stationery in a way where they would request multiple quotations and award the business to the lowest bidder. As a matter of fact, in some cases no negotiation at all would take place. An interesting note here is that this does not mean that the paper supplier has lost as a result of this transaction – they have won the order, but the telling thing is that we were not really interested in their interests at all; we were only focused on our desired objectives. So pursuing a win/lose strategy in this example has not really resulted in a loss for the supplier, but it does mean that we were not really interested in their desired outcomes.

The flip side of this example is that if you are selling commodity type products, you have to realise that before you will be in a position to negotiate, you must create for yourself a base to do this from – hence the move towards providing solutions.

5 EFFECTIVE NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES

How then do we decide which negotiation strategy to follow? Within a commercial context, the following negotiation strategy options are available to us:

  • Avoiding negotiation altogether.
  • Engaging in a competitive negotiation where we seek to achieve our goals aggressively.
  • Engaging in an accommodating negotiation where we seek to satisfy only the needs of our counterparty to the exclusion of our own needs
  • Using a compromising approach where we seek to satisfy some of our needs and interests and some of the needs and interests of our counterparty.
  • Deploying a collaborative negotiation approach where we seek to satisfy all our needs and interests in addition to satisfying all the needs and interests of our counterparty.

The negotiation strategy that is appropriate will be determined by your answers to the following two questions:

  • How strong are my alternatives to this particular negotiation?
  • How important is a long term relationship in the context of this negotiation?

It follows that in many cases, buyers would be pursuing an approach where they are avoiding negotiation or being competitive and sellers would like to be compromising or collaborative. How then to deal with this situation?

A key part of the negotiation preparation process should be focused on trying to understand your counterparties needs, interests and objectives. This will assist you in identifying the likely negotiation strategy that they will be pursuing. If your counterparty is avoiding a negotiation, you can be sure that your organisation is not being viewed as a contributor of competitive advantage to your counterparty’s organisation.

Your challenge would in the 1st instance be to reconsider the way that your products and services are packaged. The aim should be to add to the achievement of the strategic business objectives of your counterparty by identifying the components of your offering that matches their strategic needs.

If you find yourself at the wrong end of a competitive negotiation, it would serve you well to be familiar with the most often used negotiation tactics as you will most certainly be confronted with a tactical approach. Unless you are well versed in negotiation tactics, it will be difficult for you to maximise the value that you will be able to extract from the negotiation as there is no sincere interest on the part of your counterparty to satisfy any of your needs or interests.