B2B Street Fighting Blog

Social Distancing: Are You Ready for Increased Virtual Negotiation?

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Mon, Mar 23, 2020 @ 08:33 AM


The current health and business environment is very likely to increase virtual negotiation. Are you ready? We'd like to share some pointers on how to proceed in the new world.

To start, a study of email, telephone and face-to-face negotiation (published in Harvard Business Review) notes the following:

  • No surprise but the best outcomes for both sides were reached face-to-face
  • On telephones, it was more win/loss where one party ended up with a significantly better outcome
  • Email negotiation had the highest level of impasse (50% vs 19% face to face)

Given our choices of text, email, or phone calls, we strongly suggest video conferencing as the next best alternative. I think we’re all aware that “if an email can be misconstrued…it will.be.” Which is why we all know to be very cautious with our written word absent verbal and physical cues as conflict can easily arise. Interestingly, I did just read an article that emoji’s might actually help replicate some of that human interaction and clarify intent with email! 😊

Keep in mind a few facts when you’re forced to conduct negotiation via email:

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, effective negotiation, virtual negotiation

best practice to negotiate larger deals more quickly

Posted by Carrie Welles on Thu, Nov 07, 2019 @ 04:15 PM

‘I sent my customer a proposal. They accepted it on the spot with no changes, and I closed the deal,’ said no salesperson ever!

Salespeople must understand that submitting a first proposal to their customer is an invitation to the negotiation dance. A dance that includes price concessions, line-item negotiating, demands, and giveaway pressure. Even if you have executed your sales process flawlessly, there will always be missing information and uncertainty in a customer negotiation. With the best intentions, salespeople set out to sell solutions only to end up negotiating price. They believe customers will view and negotiate the package as a whole. When in reality, customers enthusiastically negotiate line by line, and then inevitably pull price out of the equation and place a bullseye on it.

What if there was a better method of changing the conversation with your customer from delivering pricing to delivering value solutions? A method that would help keep you in control, manage the uncertainty, and close larger deals more quickly for you and your company? There is. Multiple Solution Options

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, effective negotiation, multiple solution options

Shift the conversation from price of product to value of solution

Posted by Marie Dudek Brown on Thu, Aug 08, 2019 @ 03:56 PM

Q: Are you sick of hearing these 10 words from your customers?

“I can get the same thing cheaper from your competitor!”
Or, when the customer says,
 want you to match the 10% discount offered by the competition.”
As a sales executive, you know too well, when negotiating on price

  • Buyers treat your brand as a commodity
  • Your sales reps run to their managers to get quick price discounting, thus…
  • You have to ‘buy the business’ to make the sale
  • And your sales cycle lingers on, taking too long

With potential buyers seeing you the same as everyone else. Because you sound like everyone else. They made it about price. And your reps are unable to change the conversation.

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, business negotiations

achieve 466% ROI on your negotiation improvement initiative

Posted by Carrie Welles on Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 07:43 AM

There are many sales skills that have impact on the value of a strong sales team within an organization:
  • Account Management
  • Value Selling
  • Questioning
  • Presentation skills
  • as well as a number of others.

However, one of the things we love most about our work in helping B2B sales organizations improve negotiation skills is the immediate, tangible, return on investment. Unlike many sales skills, negotiation is a hard skill: meaning not only is it highly measurable, but it also delivers business results fast! The other great news is that together, we, the Think! team with the client stakeholders, can identify this potential ROI before any investment is made to build the internal business case for a negotiation improvement initiative.

Here are results from five (5) Fortune 1000 clients in these industries: logistics, packaging, energy solutions and services, information services, and healthcare.

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, business negotiations, negotiation strategies in business, Carrie Welles

what is end-of-quarter discounting costing you?

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 @ 11:56 AM

We recently completed coaching on over $1b in deals for two tech companies globally. Two huge issues related to deal timing came out of the coaching that plague most sales organizations:

  • Waiting until the end of the quarter / quarter-end promotions
  • Waiting until 30-45 days out to plan for renewals

In fact, Harvard Business Review (HBR-8/2017) reports these same issues: 

  • Decreased deal size and win rate results for an estimated $98 million per year in lost revenue for the average company.
  • Conversely, it represents a potential gain of over 27% in revenue per company if properly addressed.

How did we let this happen? Market pressures from Wall Street and investors, irrational competitive behavior, internal quarterly pressures to “make our numbers;” they all contribute to the problem.  

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales

think negotiation is unpredictable? think again...

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Thu, Feb 07, 2019 @ 07:47 AM

Traditional negotiation training, as you no doubt already know, consists largely of memorizing long lists of tactics, countermeasures, and tips and tricks designed to prepare sales teams for every possible negotiation situation. This is based on the assumption that in a negotiation you never know what’s going to happen, and must, therefore, be prepared for anything. But what if I were to tell you that despite what you’ve always heard, 97% of what a seller is likely to hear coming out of a buyer’s mouth in a negotiation cannot only be anticipated, but also, if not nullified, at least greatly reduced in its power? (1)

It’s true. We can do it. 

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, business negotiations, brian dietmeyer

common trap negotiators fall into

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 @ 04:48 PM

We’ve consulted on over 20,000 negotiations in over 45 countries for 16 years. The most common issue we see is: 

“Very seasoned negotiators having a price conversation absent of the value conversation.” 

What does this mean exactly? Imagine for a moment that you work at a high-end steak house and you encounter this scenario: 

  1. You are seated a table and are ready to order. You order the Filet Oscar, the house specialty, which is listed at $42 on the menu.
  2. You continue that you would like to pay $16 for it because that is what you paid last night for dinner (you fail to mention it was a plate of tacos at the restaurant down the street).
  3. Your server goes to find the manager to ask for an adjustment to the bill to give you the discount.  
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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, business negotiations

use this best practice to differentiate when negotiating

Posted by K. (Karen) G. Fraser on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 @ 12:16 PM

In these days when business buyers are more knowledgeable than ever, it is important for sellers to differentiate in every phase of the sales cycle. In the negotiation phase of the sales cycle, the customer is more keenly focused on you than you might think.  Through their buying cycle, the customer is comparing you, overtly and subtly, to their preferred alternative to you.  Remember that the customer’s preferred alternative to you is your main competitor.

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales

opening offers do impact negotiation

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 @ 03:57 PM

My friend and former colleague, Max Bazerman, negotiation professor at the Harvard Business School, once reported to me that: 

“Opening offers have more impact on outcomes of a negotiation than all counter-offers combined!”

I couldn't agree more, however, I believe to really understand the weight of the impact, it is important to understand the complexity inside that statement. (It is more than you might initially detect!) 

For starters, think about these questions: 

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, brian dietmeyer, negotiation tips

precision guided discovery

Posted by Brian Dietmeyer on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 07:47 AM

Discovery has long been among, if not the most important selling skill. Gaining access to stakeholders and uncovering needs is key to presenting your value. 

However, most discovery looks like this:

 " What Keeps You Awake at Night?"

This approach makes it difficult to gain access to execute discovery and makes it harder to uncover areas to add value and differentiate. What is the value to an executive of meeting with you only to tell you what they already know? How are we going to add value when customers, who are more digitally informed than ever, are diagnosing their own needs and prescribing their own solution (many times sub-optimally)? More importantly, it has us following vs. leading.

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Tags: negotiation skills for sales, brian dietmeyer, precision guided discovery

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The B2B Street Fighting blog brings you the latest on what's happening in the real world of business negotiation.

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