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Thursday, 26 April 2018

6 Tactics to Become a Pro Dealmaker

It's the final meeting. You know you're about a few minutes away from making the deal. You're in a meeting with the decision maker, giving a great product demo, handling any questions that anyone has for you, and making one convincing statement after the other. You're winning the business! At least, that's what it seems to be, but the reality is it is easier said than done.

Here's how the pros tackle the situation and come out successful every time:

1) Turn the tables: Make it into a conversation about interests and objectives

Sales isn't just about listening. Listening doesn't get you places, in fact learning is what gains you the valuable working ground and allows you to identify what's the value proposition your customer is looking for. This helps you to find out what features matter? Which ones don't? This information helps you effectively position your demo to a final decision maker, and it enables you to put your best foot forward.

This doesn't just apply to agreements alone, it also applies to objections. Often your customer will ask for things that don't matter, but if you don't ask you can always expect the answer to be no. Start every meeting by honing in on why your prospect wanted to meet, what's wrong with what they currently have and what do they have today that they want to ideally continue doing?

Key questions to ask here are:

  1. What's important to you in a solution?
  2. What else is important?
  3. Which of these is the most important?

It's important to turn general statements into statements of interest, as this will help you to better make a proposal. From "Anything below $5 per piece will do" to "It's important we get the cost of this below $5 per piece if not it would be very hard for customers to purchase this from us in store.

2) Don't jump the gun and be the first to propose

When making a deal you rarely want to go first. The logic here is you've suddenly provided more information to the other side without getting much back in return. Avoid this by asking about your prospect's budget or what they on previous solutions.

Here's an effective tactic against higher cost solutions. A high-value solution needs a demonstration of value other similar companies have received from your offering to benchmark your claims. Your customers normally look to others for inspiration or validation before making the move.

There are cases when your customers ask for a quote. The trick here is that if you've covered good ground with a strong understanding of the ROI your customer gets with your product, their buying cycle and their budget -- all you have to do really is to ask for their business.

Objections are definitely coming your way, and rather than pushing back immediately, make sure you ask "why?". With this additional information you can counter offer based on their interests and yours.

3) Linking it all together and initiating the trade

Great you've travelled the distance and made great leaps into the conversation / discussion thus far. At this stage you should already know what matters to your customer and what doesn't. There should be a few items up for discussion with the assurance that you know what your customer cares about.

Now it's time to compare which of these items is most important to yourself and which is important to the customer. This enables you to make trades with your customer, which leaves both parties in a better position.

Is there an offer that you can give for a better price? Or perhaps provide a quick solution for them amidst a tight deadline? In any case, having obtained information about what your customer cares about you are in a better position to make a proposal. Even when you face hard resistance on the initial pitch, you can continue to confirm the key points to improve your plan.

4) Have your customer propose

In the situation when you are facing significant resistance don't be afraid to ask the customer what a proposal they would sign off on would look like. This gives you a better indicator of your customer's baseline.

If it doesn't line up with what you can offer on cost, let the customer know right away and make a counter offer. You'll be in a better position if you can execute this, and allows you to set the right expectations with your customer.

It's important to take note that this wouldn't work until you've clearly presented the value of your solution, because any amount you propose without this would seem to high for your customer.

5) Find the middle ground

Now that there is an active negotiation on the proposal, consider splitting the difference (only if your margin allows for it). This cuts through most of the noise in a price negotiation, and it helps you jump to the middle and normally this is a fair split.

Be careful when employing this as it would make sense if both parties are losing ground equally.

6) Build agreement early

There's plenty to discuss, but since you've already identified the points that matter most to your customer and yourself it should be relatively easy for you to kick off the conversation on issues that are less important.

This might seem counterintuitive, as everyone wants to win a high-priced deal, but building an agreement early on will help you with this.

Build rapport with your customer and paint that you are someone that is willing to work with them and can establish the link-and-trade early on into the conversation and the momentum should be right up your drive way.


Give your sales team insight to only propose after learning enough about ROI and budget, and they'll have confidence not to drop the price right away. Support them by giving them the necessary tools to work (stable email). Lastly, give them boundaries to link and trade and they'll become better dealmakers.

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