As a B2B street fighter, it's your job to get the negotiation process on track by getting more facts on the table and literally steering the fight where you want it to go. In other words, you want to start proactively managing the deal versus thinking about negotiation as a tactical response to a professional buyer. It's all about acting first, not reacting later. With the three steps below, you will no longer be thinking, "S-O-S! S-O-S! I've got to get my ship out of these stormy waters and live to fight another day!" Instead, you start thinking, "I'm going to be steering the ship into calmer seas, where I can get a better perspective, make a better deal for me and provide a better solution for my customer."
For all three steps, it helps to think of multiple stakeholders on both the buy and sell sides to create that natural complexity or robustness that occurs in the marketplace.
Step #1: Your first counterpunch for combating commoditization pressure is Consequenses of No Agreement (CNA) Analysis. It helps you get the facts about the client's real alternative to you, as well as the gacts about all aspects of your value proposition on the table.
Why is this necessary? People tent to take a deal when it is better than the alternative. People also view offers as a plus or a minus according to how they perceive the alternative. Ultimately, showing the customer how your deal meets their needs better (not cheaper) than their CNA is how everyone gets to win-win. Overall, the result is better decisions by all parties, so both sides end up with something better than the alternative. This is also the first step in creating value.
Step #2: Counterpunch #2 (trading or trading analysis) helps you combat price pressure by collecting all the facts about all the terms that need to be agreed upon, in addition to price, then trading those things to provide more value than they cost.
Remember that trades are a method of designing a deal in which everybody gets something equally valuable. in publishing, the book is never really finished until all the rewrites have been done and both the publisher and the author agree the book is in the best possible form. Trades are the rewriting you do at the bargaining table.
Step #3: Finally, counterpunch #3 helps you avoid the problem of selling value then reverting back to negotiaing price by "packaging" the value created during trading analysis into three unique Multiple Equal Offers (MEOs). These MEOs descirbe three different business relationships - often targeting the priorities of different buying influencers - that exceed both sides' CNA and trade analyses on as many items as possible.
MEOs keep the value expansion going and help you keep the focus off of price. We often use this explanation because it ties the concept of how to the goal of what. We also point out in our workshops that if you pursue this goal, there will be a radical shift in how you act as a negotiator. Buyers on the other side will also need to be re-educated because of their self-limiting beliegs about what negotiation really is.
Now you can approach any deal from an aspect of preparedness and partnership. You can take control of the negotiation conversation, transform the relationship and build value for everyone.