By Bill Taylor, President, Corporate Ladders
Is it tougher or easier to negotiate in today’s business environment? Well that depends on what you’re negotiating. For example, these days it’s easier to negotiate a better deal for a new home or auto. But what about telecom gear and services? Are your clients and prospects just looking for the cheapest solutions and taking a hard line on negotiating pricing and terms? Or do they want the best deal?
By selling, managing and coaching through a number of up and down cycles, we’ve learned that when the cycle changes so must your approach. Today, clients and prospects are probably telling you that they are looking for the best deal. But the best deal doesn’t always mean the best price. The best deal is often the one that solves a real business problem, makes them more competitive in their industry, or decreases their COGS. Once you’ve identified the way to do that for your customer or prospect you’re offering the best deal. Price is always part of the decisions but it’s not the only part.
In short, it starts by first qualifying the prospect. Second, understanding their needs and quantifying the value created by meeting those needs. Lastly, don’t be afraid to walk away at any stage of the process if the best deal is only for the customer. By walking away it may be the best deal for you too.
Bill Taylor is president of Corporate Ladders, a management, sales and business development consulting and coaching firm specializing in technology, telecom, Internet, health care and financial services companies. He is the PHONE+ Channel Coach and a member of the 2008-09 PHONE+ Channel Partners Advisory Board.