Negotiation Skills Sales Training

I originally posted this last year on another blog. Please enjoy if you haven’t read it before.

So, you did your sales presentation. You got buying signals galore. You asked them if they were ready. They asked how much. You gave them the price, They started negotiating and you now have no margin. Do you need help negotiating? Watch this video. You’ll be a better negotiator in 5 minutes.

5 Minutes to being a Better Negotiator

General Motors vs. Toyota

I originally posted this last year on another blog. Please enjoy if you haven’t read it before.

I was talking with a business owner the other day. Actually, he was talking to me. He was expressing his displeasure about an unknown quasi-competitor that was making inroads into “his” marketplace. How does that happen?

But the conversation got me thinking. General Motors was the #1 automaker when my grandsons were born. GM was #1 when my sons were born. GM was #1 when I was born. GM was #1 when my parents were born. Now, Toyota is #1.

Who did Walmart displace?

Hertz was founded in 1918. Remember the Avis commercials? “#2 tries harder. Along comes Enterprise in 1957 and now has almost as many locations in the US as Hertz and Avis combined.

I’m sure that you can think of many other examples of the underdog doing the unexpected.

Here’s the question. Are you General Motors or Toyota in your marketplace?

Sales Decisions

I originally posted this last year on another blog. Please enjoy if you haven’t read it before.

I just read Frank’s post and he asks some good questions.

As I read, I found myself thinking about me, the way I sell and the way that I have sold. I think that I’ve changed and not necessarily for the better. Not a week goes by that I don’t retract an offer to work with someone. They always get upset with me. Last week, I posted about the prospect that replied, “Wow how arrogant” and threatened me. Last week, I was told that I was “confrontational” and “in your face”.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If I could just get every prospect to read Frank’s post, they might learn about my mental short cuts and understand that it “just didn’t feel right”, but the fact is that I can’t get every prospect to read the post just like he can’t get every sales professional to read the book. They don’t care. They want what they want.

A little history –

When I sold Fuller Brushes, Cutco Cutlery, and furniture, I sold what I sold and moved on. My job was to sell as much as I could. It was somebody else’s job to deliver and do customer service. Then I spent the next 20 years in collections, where I learned two things.

Joe hired me to collect three debts. Every one of his debtors threatened me physically saying something like, “If Joe was here, I’d use this chain on him, but you’re here representing him…” I got out of there. Returned Joe’s paperwork and suggested that he might deserve not to get paid. I talked to thousands of debtors, and only got threatened three times, by Joe’s debtors. Joe was not happy. He said that I had agreed to help him and that I was changing my mind. He was right, but I wish that I had never agreed. Never started. Walked away. Why, because I no longer sold and walked away. I had to deliver. I was a partner with my client and what they did impacted my life. If they were clean, I was clean. If they were a crook, I was a crook and if they lied, cheated, stole or were otherwise unprofessional, it made my job difficult if not impossible.

As I mentioned, I talked to thousands of debtors. They were regular people like you and me that weren’t paying for something that they had agreed to pay for. My client made an offer. The debtor accepted it. Did the debtor actually accept the offer? Did the debtor change their mind? Did my client not deliver? Did the debtor’s world change? Are they negotiating after the fact? (In some cultures this is OK.) What I learned was that many debtors appreciated these questions and that I could determine in 5 minutes whether or not this debtor would pay if they could. I worked with the ones that would. The lawyers sued the ones that wouldn’t.

So, what’s the message. Use the comment section to give your version of what the take-away should be.

A RainMaker to be?

This is a guest post by Arjun Moorthy. Arjun is the VP of Business Development at Hubspot. He was referred to me a few weeks ago and was evaluated as an entrepreneurial salesperson. Today, we reviewed his evaluation together. These are his words.

Rick – as you requested, here is a short blog post I wrote up after our chat this morning.  I intended to post it to my blog,, but you are welcome to modify/quote it as I think that was perhaps your original idea?

As regular readers of my blog may know I care a lot about people finding their true career calling as I myself struggle through that.  Recently I did a sales skills evaluation with Rick Roberge using a methodology from Objective Management Group.  The 40-page report is very detailed and at first I didn’t agree with several of the assessments but on a second review I found it was startlingly accurate.

Rick and I talked for an hour and a half today as he clarified various points and gave several helpful, memorable examples to help me address the issues that were highlighted in this report.  And all this he prefaced with just one thing: enjoy what you’re doing otherwise you’re doing it wrong.  That may sound obvious but that advice, along with my observation that those who are really good at sales actually do enjoy their job, has immediately changed my outlook on every meeting that I have coming.

I don’t know if I would ever have been a great engineer but I think with the right coaching and guidance I can be great at sales.  And getting to be great at something, versus just good at it, is what you want to aim for in your career.  With the abundance of opportunities many of us have in the west, too often we end up jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none but that only takes you so far in a job.  To get to the top and stay there you really have to excel at that role.  So, I’m buckling down for the long haul here and will keep you posted on what happens.
Interestingly, Arjun does not carry a sales quota, but he recognizes that non-sales executives need to know how to sell. Be sure to subscribe to his blog so that you can be kept up to date on his progress.

Fun Friday Post – Get the WHOLE Story!

Little Johnny watched his daddy’s car pass by
the school playground and go into the woods.
Curious, he followed the car and saw Daddy
…and Aunt Jane in a passionate embrace.
Little Johnny found this so exciting that he
could hardly contain himself as he ran home
and started to tell his mother. ‘Mommy, I
was at the playground and I saw Daddy’s car
go into the woods with Aunt Jane. I went back
to look and he was giving Aunt Jane a big kiss,
and then he helped her take off her shirt.
Then Aunt Jane helped Daddy take his pants
off, then Aunt Jane…’

At this point Mommy cut him off and said,
‘Johnny, this is such an interesting story,
suppose you save the rest of it for supper
time. I want to see the look on Daddy’s face
when you tell it tonight.’
At the dinner table that evening, Mommy asked
little Johnny to tell his story. Johnny started
his story, ‘I was at the playground and I saw
Daddy’s car go into the woods with Aunt
Jane. I went back to look and he was giving
Aunt Jane a big kiss, then he helped her take
off her shirt. Then Aunt Jane helped Daddy
take his pants off, then Aunt Jane and Daddy
started doing the same thing that Mommy and
Uncle Bill used to do when Daddy was in
the Army.
Mommy fainted!
Moral: Sometimes you need to listen to the
whole story before you interrupt!!!
Sales lesson: Have you ever jumped to conclusions because you thought that you knew what your customer wanted?
New program starting Labor Day…. Schedule a call on my calendar.

How to Refer

Many ‘self-proclaimed’ referral experts cite Emerson’s rule of compensation as the mindset of a good referral maker. It’s usually interpreted by newbies as ‘if you refer to me, it will help me and I will want to help you’. I’ve always felt that this is one selfish person trying to get another selfish person to help them first. This explanation works better for me.

I belong to a group of Inbound Networkers
The group owner doesn’t allow members to post their own content or introduce themselves (No sales pitches!), but does allow members to introduce each other to the group. I often don’t know the person that’s being introduced, but I read these introductions with an eye to finding someone that has an expertise that will help someone that I already know and care about. It’s not about me. It’s not about the person that I may refer. It’s about the match between expertise and an issue that my friend may have.
When I refer, I make the introduction. I make sure that both parties know why I’m making the introduction and then I let them do the rest. I don’t try to make it a three way call. I don’t try to get a piece of the action. My compensation comes because I’ve put two people together. If it works, they both love me. If it doesn’t work, they both know that I was thinking of them.
One last thing. Sometimes, you may want to refer someone to a client that you are working with or a prospect that you want to work with. Make the intro the same way. For instance, if you know an entrepreneur or business owner that you like that wants to grow their business, tell them that you read an article about sales help for entrepreneurs, send them the link and let me know that you did. They’ll like you. I’ll like you and if I double or triple their sales, we’ll both love you.

Non-Sales Sales

This article was originally published on 8/13/2012. The last paragraph has been updated. The rest is as it was.

My mother sent me a newspaper article written by Emily Hughey Quinn from Tribune Media Services. The title was “Buy the way…It’s OK to use sales techniques to advance your non-sales career.”

It arrived by “snail-mail” before I
left. Then, last night my son, Mark told me that he gave my name to another
entrepreneur with the suggestion that he hire me as a sales coach. He added
that he couldn’t understand why I’ve been so resistant to taking on sales coaching
clients this year. I replied that it was really simple. Most entrepreneurs
don’t put a high enough priority on developing sales ability. I’m not talking
about just being able to sell to customers, although most need help there.

Coincidentally, I’ve spent the past few weeks
contemplating some of the non-sales coaching that I’d delivered to my clients
and trying to decide why it was important. So, here are a few examples.

  • Negotiating with
    their employer (i.e. a raise, better hours, promotion, etc.)
  • Hiring and managing
  • Gaining the
    support of co-workers or other departments within the company

You might expect those kinds of examples, because they’re sales
related, but my clients have also needed help with:

  • Getting financing or
    better terms from investors, VC’s, bankers
  • Buying ‘right’
    (options, service, price, terms)
  • Raising teenagers and
    interacting with spouses
  • Growing a network that

Mark suggested that many business owners and startup entrepreneurs
needed a resource that they could use a few times a week to strategize and
rehearse from a sales perspective prior and to debrief and plan after important

So, here’s the plan.

There are 12 weeks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. If you are
an entrepreneur or a business owner and you agree with Mark, check this outTell me what you want to get done ‘sales-wise’
during those 12 weeks. We’ll see if we can make it happen.

BTW, if you are not a business owner or entrepreneur, but you are
trying to do something that’s important to you, check this out.