Stop this sales negotiation trick

If you’ve been in sales more than a week you’ve faced a prospect like Chuck.

Chuck says things like this:

“Look, Paul, I’d really like you to get our business – if we can just get the price in line. So what can you do?”

The subtext of Chuck’s comment is, “Paul, it’s YOUR price that’s the problem – so YOU have to fix it.”

The price is a hot potato and Chuck has effectively “chucked” it to Paul.

Or how about this one:

“Paul, I really appreciate your willingness to work with me. But here’s the thing. My budget is $10,000. Can you get it done for that?”

Now Chuck has tossed his budget problem to Paul.

Do you see a pattern here? One of the oldest negotiation tricks in the world is to push YOUR problem off onto the other person. And guess what? In sales, this tactic often works brilliantly, because salespeople are problem solvers. They want to solve their customers’ problems. And that’s a good thing.

But a price concession isn’t a solution. It simply shifts the problem to YOU.

In fact, I would suggest that a fair price is never a problem. The problem is ability or willingness to pay. So if the customer’s budget is tight, do what you can to help: Offer extended terms. Suggest the “better” option instead of the “best.” But don’t fix the buyer’s “problem” by creating one for yourself.

6 Comments

  • Bill says:

    Great point. It’s hard to fight the urge to be a problem solver. A lot of sales people (myself included) got into sales because we like to fix things for people.

  • Bill says:

    Great point. It’s hard to fight the urge to be a problem solver. A lot of sales people (myself included) got into sales because we like to fix things for people.

  • Bill says:

    Great point. It's hard to fight the urge to be a problem solver. A lot of sales people (myself included) got into sales because we like to fix things for people.

  • Bill says:

    Great point. It's hard to fight the urge to be a problem solver. A lot of sales people (myself included) got into sales because we like to fix things for people.

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