Accelerating Business Growth

Driving the 5 Business Growth Enhancers

Which phase of a negotiation do you find most difficult?

You probably already know how hard it is to negotiate confidently. You know the difficulties of setting out the right information to influence others to your point of view. Or how debilitating it feels when you are sitting opposite someone who seems to hold the whip hand.
We understand, we’ve been there too. But it doesn’t need to stay that way…
Which phase do you find difficult?
4 Phases of Negotiation:

  1. Preparation – determine in advance what you want to achieve.
  2. Exchanging information – Exchanging information is an extension of preparation, and allows both parties the opportunity to consider all of the available information before a bargaining meeting takes place.
  3. Bargaining – The phase where actual sacrifices and concessions are made.
  4. Commitment and Closing – once the parties have made all the adjustments and agreed upon the final details the negotiation is ready for commitment and closure.

I find it hard to really work through stage 1 – the Preparation phase.

I just want to get in there and work the magic. How about you?

Connect with me here – LinkedIn More information here

Top 5 Probing Techniques when Negotiating

As Donald Rumsfeld said – as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know

When negotiating, the more you know about the other parties the better. As they say in the military – “Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted”.

Having more information expands the range of solutions being considered. Here are my Top 5 probing techniques:

  1. Ask an open question.
  2. Pause.
  3. Use reflective or mirroring questions.
  4. Paraphrase.
  5. Use summary questions.

What do you use that helps to uncover negotiating opportunities? Please let me know… #negotiating #negotiationskills #salescoach


Ask yourself these questions to see if you have the key attributes to being a successful negotiator:

o You see possibilities rather than problems.

o You are an excellent communicator.

o You keep an open mind.

o You have confidence in your own abilities and the negotiation process.

o You are willing to listen.

o You are optimistic.

o Your ego doesn’t get in the way of a win/win solution.

o You are creative and ready to consider ways of doing things differently.

o You are flexible.

o You have excellent self-control.

o You are always well-prepared.

o You are lifelong learners.

Which is your strongest attribute and which would you seek to improve? For me keeping an open mind is my strong suit and I do lack self control in the harsher environments.

How to find great prospects

An excellent article by Lucy Hogarth, founder at the Marketing Centre

Find the full article here

Let us tell you a secret.

There’s an industry dedicated to finding small and medium-sized businesses a load of great, qualified leads. This may seem like a mysterious art, a flick of a wand, a few magic words and hey presto, awesome leads. The end result looks like magic. The methodology, like all illusions, is not.

It’s time for The Marketing Centre to be thrown out of the marketing magic circle forever…

The Illusion

This trick is really all about common sense. You’ve probably got clients who you wish you could clone. Clients who buy big, pay on time and cause no hassle. Wouldn’t it be great to clone them?

Well, you can. And without a magic wand or top hat in sight.

The trick starts with segmenting your customer database. Typical things to note down are:

  • Your clients’ industries
  • Their size and estimated turnover
  • Their geographical location
  • The geographical scope of their markets
  • The age and job title of your key contacts in each.

Ascertain your most profitable and loyal clients and look for common threads in the details above.

The Technique

Take this information to a business data organisation, and they will find and deliver you a database of contacts sharing these characteristics.

This is the magic other companies will charge you for. Don’t tell them we told you.

For B2B businesses, our favourite data providers are Thomson LocalEquifax,and Dun & Bradstreet. While their customer-profiling and acquisition services vary slightly, the end result is the same; a bank of hot new contacts for your business, closely aligned with your best existing clients.

Briefing your data provider properly is essential, otherwise you will receive a dataset which can only be partly used. Remember the following:

  • First, make sure the customer profile traits from which you want to create your new dataset are ones that fit your longer-term business strategy. It’s no good looking for new leads in an area of your business you’re about to retire.
  • Second, be specific in your brief. You will get more value for money from a data search focussed on a limited selection of business traits. One that covers too many will pick up irrelevant contacts, which you will then have to sort through.
  • Shop around; the best, most reliable data providers will charge more for high quality data that represents a good return on your investment (and this should still be less than unscrupulous customer acquisition firms will charge). What represents good data? Qualified email addresses are a great place to start. You shouldn’t be getting any email addresses starting info@….You want good quality targets. Make sure this is in the contract.
  • Finally, be aware that purchasing information of this kind comes with a responsibility to protect your data. Secure any new data you receive, and only share with your data provider information that your customers have consented to give and/or distribute.

The Reveal

You’ve now got your hands on the raw data that our customer acquisition friends would have charged good money for.

All you have to do now is vet the information you’ve been provided with, if this hasn’t already been done by your data provider. While this will require additional resource, it shouldn’t be skipped: the results will be worth waiting for.

There you have it: B2B business magic. Time-consuming, true – but much more impressive than pulling a rabbit from a hat.

We don’t claim to be magicians here at The Marketing Centre, but we do focus our marketing activities around growth and return on investment over the long-term – something our proven part-time Marketing Directors can do, which marketing consultants cannot. 

Negotiating mind set – Soft or Hard

There are many approaches to negotiating. But in essence they boil down to two – Soft or Hard

Soft or Open Approach. The negotiation is based on treating the participants as friends, seeking agreement, offering concessions, preserve a positive relationship, behaves transparently, sharing their bottom line.

Hard or Closed Approach. The negotiation is based on having a competitive mindset, hiding the bottom line, and offering few concessions, if any.

You choose the approach that suits you best. From my perspective the hard approach will almost always come out with a much better deal.

What do you think??

For more information click on negotiation skills

Negotiation Skills – what is good?

Ever wondered what makes for a good negotiator?

Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder if you want to enhance your negotiation skills:

• Flexible – a good negotiator is prepared to use several possible approaches and formulas. They are not fixated on any one way to resolve the issues
• Informed – they often ask questions more than they provide answers. Information is power and you get more information by asking good quality questions
• Aware – they can assess a situation, including the expertise of the parties involved, and adapt their approach to suit the occasion.

What would you add to this list??

Click here for more information as to how to enhance your negotiation skills


Negotiating – how to prepare yourself

In negotiations it is essential that you make a good impression at the start.

As the saying goes “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”

Here are a couple of things that you might consider when you get yourself prepped:

  1. Do you look approachable – make sure you tell your face what it should look like. Stern and aloof are not the best ways to start!
  2. What does your appearance Say – lime green trousers are fine for the golf course but probably not ideal in the negotiation room
  3. Prepare some small talk – avoid the contentious subjects but have something interesting to break the ice
  4. Avoid drinks and food – spilling your coffee over your carefully prepared notes is not the ideal way to kick off a tough meeting.

What is your advice?

Negotiating – what exactly does it mean

Defining Negotiation

When you hear the word “negotiation” what picture comes to mind?

What other words describe negotiate?

Bargain, Haggle, Mediate, Facilitate, Barter, Fight!, Bullying!, Winning…

Images that it conjures up include – Power struggle, turf warfare, tough, tense, high stakes, intimidation, losing face, conflict – fight, flight freeze.

It doesn’t have to be that way – if you master the art and skill of negotiating

What is Negotiation

Negotiation is a process centered on a discussion that is intended to produce an agreement that should build stronger relationships but just might include compromises,

How to judge success

• Agreement is essential – it must conclude with agreement
• The process and result should be efficient
• The relationship between the negotiators should not be damaged and may improve

Click over to our negotiating skills page to learn more

Negotiating – whats the hard part?

What’s the hardest thing for you in mastering negotiations? My experience is that many do not do the right level of preparation. They dont drill down deep enough into what the other parties value and what they might be willing to trade or exchange for them.

What about you – what do you find the hardest?

Click on our Negotiation Skills page here to find out more

Advance the relationship – don’t continue it

I am sure you have heard something like this after a sales call to a customer:

“It was an excellent meeting, they really like us and what we do. I got on really well with the buyer and their team. It seems we support the same sports team and our kids are the same age. We had so much in common. I am sure that we are high on their list of suppliers. It went so well they said I could pop in any time for a coffee and a chat”.

The words and details may be different, but the outcome the salesperson thought they had achieved was this – I advanced the relationship!

I disagree.

And I should know as I have said this so many times in my long sales career.

What they have achieved is a continuation of the sales process or the relationship. But that is not what is needed.

What is required is an advancement of the relationship.

By which I mean advancing the sale or relationship by getting the buyers team to commit to an action or actions that moves the sale or the relationship forward.

Some examples might include:

  • Agreeing the next stage in the sales process
  • Agreeing dates for future learning events
  • Receiving personal introductions, referrals and recommendations to expand the network of contacts
  • Agreement to set up a tender alert system to ensure early engagement with future work

All of these are actions that frame the future rather than vague promises of keeping in touch.

So how do you advance the sale or relationship?

The way to guarantee to advance the sales or the relationship is by stating clearly in advance a direction to go in or a goal to move towards.

Ask yourself this question: what is the goal or what are the goals of this meeting, phone call or email that will move us closer to a deal or sale?

Asking that question ensures that you advance whatever you are seeking to achieve. Success is determined by completing specific actions.

Try it. Let me know how you get on…

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