Don’t Negotiate With Yourself

Don’t Negotiate With Yourself

You are about to send the proposal. You want to get your team’s perspective on your offer. This team may be your technical pre-sales, your manager, your manager’s manager, your finance guy, your implementation team, etc. Many people can give you insight into the proposal for your account. Each person on your team will help you with trade-offs to make your proposal more attractive to the prospect. Their suggestions will be valuable.

You should learn from them and adapt their opinions to your strategy. But you may want to say, “No thank you” to many of the suggestions. Every suggestion that is something like, “We should add X to the proposal to sweeten the deal.” Or maybe, “We should discount this service.” These are probably inappropriate suggestions.

Your team should focus their suggestions on things that tie back to statements of concern or goals by the prospect. It shouldn’t be about adding items or discount.

Whenever you are trying to fine-tune a proposal, and you discount or bundle things together that are not standard in your product line, you are negotiating with yourself. You are trying to anticipate an objection from the prospect and react to that objection in advance of the conversation. This is “negotiating with yourself” instead of with the prospect. You will always lose a negotiation with yourself.

Please understand, I am not saying that discounts are not appropriate for a given customer. There are many reasons to offer a discount:

  • Your list price is significantly higher than the street price.
  • The customer has already offered something in return for a discount such as a reference call or presentation at a user meeting.
  • You know that you are at a product or company disadvantage and you need to offset that technical disadvantage with a lower price to achieve parity with the benefits offered.

Negotiations are always a give-and-take between two parties. Whenever there is a request for a concession, the other party needs to ask for something in return. This cannot be possible if you are negotiating with yourself – what are you going to ask for and then offer in return if it is just you negotiating? By definition, you are going to give and not get anything in return if you are negotiating with yourself. It is a lose/lose proposition rather than a win/win proposition.

Of course, the objection to this is that you may be in a situation where the proposal has to be delivered, and there will be no negotiations. These are real situations, and they are painful to lose, but you need to eliminate them from your pipeline. How can you have a great relationship with an account that has such a closed relationship with vendors? Nearly every time this is the case, you have not developed a long-term trusting relationship with that prospect. You were probably late to the deal. You are probably acting like a Hunter or a Farmer and definitely not like a Trapper. In other words, you are probably going to lose a considerable percentage of these deals especially if you have a fierce competitor that is working the account like a Gatherer or a Trapper. If you don’t understand these terms, you need to read my book, Eliminate Your Competition as it will help you plan to be successful. You need to build a pipeline of deals that will allow you to win and not be challenged by losing propositions where the prospect doesn’t value you. My book will help you develop that pipeline.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Header Photo by geralt (Pixabay)

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