Tony Hughes, of Huthwaite International, with practical tips on how selling and negotiation are all about creating and capturing
○ Sales is about building value that your competitors cannot match through consultative conversations
○ Negotiation is about capturing value through the right kind of planning and the right verbal face-to-face behaviours
○ Huthwaite International helps people all over the world, in their local languages in the classroom and online, to excel at these skills.
Sales organisations have always faced challenges – competition, buyers’ budgets, and technological change are always among them. In recent years, more have emerged: commoditisation and the battle for talent. The more undifferentiated products and services become the more of a premium is placed on the behavioural skills of the seller to stand out. Simple product knowledge or good ostensible prices aren’t enough. Sellers have to be able to create value in the sales process and in the subsequent account management relationship; yet inattention to the right behaviours and mistakes in segmenting the market or in pre-judging customers’ real needs can actually destroy that value.
The way to create real value for your solution is to use consultative behaviours from the very beginning to help customers see problems they might not even recognise yet, and prompt them to see their importance and want to solve them.
That’s the essence of selling.
The essence of negotiation is different, in skills terms, though both are closely aligned by the parts they play in first creating value, and then by capturing it in the agreement. In fact a common mistake many people make is to begin the main negotiation too early in the cycle, and thereby concede things that they could have captured more value for once they had crystallised the buyer’s intention to buy.
When you do get to the main negotiation stage, three skill areas stand out – behaviour, planning and timing. Our research uncovered many common behavioural errors in negotiation. One being that supporting an argument with many reasons can actually weaken your case to the point where it falls apart. We also discovered that unskilled negotiators can get distracted with the facts and figures but then turn up to the meeting without a robust plan to make their case persuasively.
Our strap line is: “Change behaviour. Change results.” That applies equally to individuals and organisations. Devoting time to behavioural skills training is essential so that individuals become unconsciously competent in effective sales and negotiation and organisations establish common language and processes. It’s then the responsibility of all to sustain the changes. Coaching and reinforcement are key and increasingly people want to be able to access tools on the move. Providing the tools for that entire journey – and doing so in all of the languages our global customer base needs – is always a big focus for us.
For more information visit huthwaite.co.uk or click here to see how much value Huthwaite International has created for its clients.