Mark Shonka

Sales Tip of the Month: It's (Not) Personal

Most business development people care deeply about their work. They are proud of their company, believe strongly in their solutions, and feel passionately about the impact they can make for their prospects and customers. Many of them also care about being successful, hitting quota, being well-compensated and getting recognized for their success.

As a result, for many in our profession, this is really personal. We care deeply about our success and our customer's success.

It's important to remember that the people across the table may not feel the same way. For many of them, the negotiation that you care so much about is just "part of the job".

During the procurement panel referenced in the last Tip of the Month (a group of 3 different senior level procurement executives at the Strategic Account Management Association's annual conference), it was clear that their strategies and tactics were ploys designed to "level the playing field". They weren't trying to hurt us as individuals, nor did they really care to understand our unique value. Their job was to get the best price possible.

Another example: In a recent "negotiation" with a prospective new IMPAX client, the sales executive wanted to work with IMPAX but was required to involve his procurement team. The procurement person pulled out all the stops and asked for everything, even stating, "We want your full solution for a 40% lower price." (Not surprisingly, he didn't get it!) He wasn't shy, reluctant or embarrassed to ask. He wasn't challenging IMPAX's solution or competitive advantage or the value we can bring. It was clearly his job to ask for everything.

Given this reality, here is our challenge - we need to: continue to care deeply about our profession and the value we can bring our customers; not let other people's tactics affect us personally; and find line decision makers who also care deeply about the result they are trying to create and our ability to help them get there.

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Mark Shonka

Sales Tip: Words Matter

As presenters, we do a lot to deliver a presentation to the best of our ability: we craft our message; develop a PowerPoint deck; review the draft with a coach; rehearse with our teams… These are all big and important steps to take.

Another factor to consider is actually quite small...