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How Strong are Your People at Sales Negotiation?

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Sep 01, 2022

Negotiate by definition is to deal or bargain with others in preparation of a contract or business deal.  As a verb, negotiate means to move through in a satisfactory manner. In the world of selling, both of those definitions are relevant and important. Oftentimes, sales negotiation tactics seem to be related to price – giving or getting the best rate or fees for a product or service. Here is what we know to be true about rate or price reduction requests. We call them the 3 Immutable Truths:

  • It does not cost your prospect or client anything to ask for a better deal
  • Your tone and response will set the tone for future negotiations
  • If you don’t move the conversation away from rate towards value, you will always be negotiating rate

To respond effectively to a rate or price requestion, you must be assertive, skilled at asking questions and listening, able to sell your value and a skilled negotiator. Skillful salespeople know how to do all this and bring that additional layer of consultation to bring the negotiation to its best outcome.

We are often asked about training on sales negotiation tactics and while important, the real strength of elite producers is in this area of being inquisitive, curious, caring and consultative. While negotiating is all about landing on an agreed upon “fair deal” for the prospect and service provider, consulting is much more. A consultative seller will come prepared to a meeting fully understanding many of the possible issues a company may have and industry trends and challenges. Elite producers even have their questions laid out, tailored for resonance and possible questions that their prospect may ask of them. These are very basic skills of a consultative seller and can be accomplished with a pre-call plan.

But top bankers, insurance providers and financial service providers come to the table with much more than preparation and sales negotiation tactics. Their questions stem from an inherent desire and need to know more, an open curiosity about the challenges a business owner may have and the yen to know more and to connect solutions with problems, even if it is not their own solution. They are just genuinely interested and surprisingly, they are also humble and not boastful of what they do and offer their clients. Rather, they are confident about themselves and their company and empathetic in their approach. With their skillful question and listening abilities, they are able to help their prospects and clients self discover what needs to happen to solve their business problem.  

A consultative approach often leads to an advisory role and, in most cases, that is what financial service providers are striving to accomplish with their clients. If they can become a trusted advisor, they can really help their clients on a much broader level than a product or service. They will become part of the inner trusted circle for change and growth for that business leader. While sales negotiation tactics are important and lead to a satisfactory arrangement, a truly consultative seller is an essential part of the success of any business and the end goal is overachievement of goals and enhanced profitability.

Referencing the data from the #1 sales assessment in the world, by Objective Management Group, there are some similarities and differences in the specific skills for a negotiator and consultative seller.  Here are the skills that strong negotiators have mastered:

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Now let’s take a look at the skills of the Consultative Seller:

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So, let’s revisit that initial question, how strong are your salespeople at negotiating and consultative selling? Don’t you need to know this? Here’s how to find out now.

Free eBook Download: Find Out if Your  Salespeople Can and Will SELL

Topics: sales negotiation techniques, sales negotiation, sales negotiation tactics

Value-Based Selling in Challenging Markets

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Mar 24, 2022

Do your lenders provide your prospects and clients with the consultative financial and business advice that establishes value and makes you rate-resistant?

One of the areas where we are spending a significant amount of training time in 2022 is on sales negotiation strategies, value-based selling, as well as sales negotiation techniques.

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As a 29-year-old sales training company dedicated to serving the needs of financial institutions, we have learned much about the challenges that confront those institutions on an almost daily basis. From concerns around regulations to concerns around declining net interest margins to concerns around intense competition, it is fair to say that times have been quite challenging. And now in 2022, we are likely to see several rounds of rate increases that will provide another challenge to profitable loan growth.

One of the areas where we are spending a significant amount of training time in 2022 is on sales negotiation strategies as well as sales negotiation techniques. And based upon my numerous conversations with CEOs and Presidents, the ability to sell value has become quite a conundrum. The leader gathers his or her lenders together for a meeting and says the following with passion: “We are better than our competition so stop cutting rates to get deals done.”

The reaction to this is almost always the same. The lenders smile and nod their heads in tacit agreement. Then after the CEO walks out of the room, the lenders have the meeting after the meeting where they commiserate and ask each other how long their CEO is going to spend on Fantasy Island. After all, it is brutal out there in the field. And the thinking goes if they don’t match or beat rates then it will be all but impossible to win deals.

All of that leads me to want to talk about working the “right end of the problem.” The knee-jerk reaction is to focus on negotiation training and that is not a bad thing. But the right end of the problem means recognizing where the problem is really starting and that is during the very first sales call or conversation. What’s the problem? Simple – the lender is not providing any value as they speed through the process with the prize being able to send the prospect a term sheet. And since the prospect does not see or experience any value…because the prospect is not taken through a differentiated experience…and because rates are easy to understand and compare, the prospect simply decides to use rate as their yardstick in comparing the difference between the available options.

The key is to add value early in the sales process by tailoring your message for resonance. Differentiate yourself from your competition by taking a consultative sales approach. Get the prospect to wonder why other banks have never asked them the questions you are asking them.

After all, the main reason why lenders don’t do a very good job of defending value is quite simple. It is hard to defend something that was never provided in the first place. Time to start working on the right end of the problem – how your bank and your lenders can differentiate and provide your prospects and client with the consultative financial and business advice that makes you “rate-resistant.”

Meet with one of our Banking Sales Training Experts

Topics: value-based selling, sales negotiation techniques, sales negotiation strategies, consultative sales approach

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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