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Don’t Give without Getting

Almost all sales involve some kind of negotiation. And like sales, negotiation is not an event; it is a process. In this process, we believe, the seller should strive to create a reciprocal relationship. He or she should get something in return for giving something. We call this our “quid pro quo philosophy.”

This begins as a psychological adjustment: how the seller looks at himself or herself. The seller should remember that he or she is not a supplicant, looking for a handout or a favor; instead, he or she is providing a valuable service to the buyer (assuming, of course, that the offering actually can help the buyer solve a problem or meet a goal). We’ve already talked about how the buyer’s time is valuable. Well, so is the seller’s time. We believe that if a salesperson gives a buyer an hour of time, he or she has the right—and even the obligation—to get something in return, before giving up another hour.

What’s the practical benefit? If quid pro quo becomes a habit early in the relationship, sellers can become more effective negotiators and deliver more profitable business.

When our potential clients try to assess whether to engage us and implement Customer Focused Selling, many wind up focusing their cost-benefit analysis on this area of discounting. Once our client decision makers understand our quid pro quo philosophy, many realize that the entire Sales-Ready Messaging and sales process implementation will more than pay for itself if sellers can reduce discounting by 1 percent.

The math isn’t complicated. Let’s say that the total cost of one of our standard sales-training programs is between $3000 and $4000 per salesperson. If each of those salespeople who has an annual quota of $2 million can reduce discounting by 1 percent, that’s $20,000 a head. And, of course, this is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving, in that once salespeople understand quid pro quo, they keep on thinking and acting that way.


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