Tag Archive | "Sales"

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Resource Publishing Hires Industry Veteran Sales Representative for www.CountertopResource.com

Posted on 20 October 2021 by cradmin

Award-winning Web-based Information Portal Dedicated Exclusively to Professionals in and Allied to the Countertop/Surfacing Industry Expands Staff under New Ownership

In October, industry sales veteran Paul Wisnefski was hired as the newest member of the informational website www.CountertopResource.com which has been in operation for nearly 10 years. This move comes on the back of the purchase of the site and its peripheral collateral by Resource Publishing, LLC earlier in the year.

Wisnefski has more than 35 years of sales experience, having previously worked for the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) for nearly a decade as its head sales entity, driving sales revenue for the association via its Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine and web offerings well over 300 percent during his tenure there.

Prior to working for ISFA, Wisnefski worked for the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International (FMA), leading sales for its Green Manufacturing publication. He also worked at Cygnus Business Media, a large publishing conglomerate, contributing growth to such titles as Surface Fabrication and Wood Digest.

“With Paul’s knowledge of the industry and understanding of key processes and personnel, we know he will help us bring CountertopResource.com to new levels,” said Editor and Content Manager Rebecca Devlin. “We will be able to be more responsive to client’s and our audience’s needs. This along with the ongoing improvements in the works will drive the website to new highs.”

“I’m extremely happy to be working with the talented team at CountertopResource.com,” said Wisnefski. “I am confident that my industry knowledge and deep friendships in the industry will not only help the site to grow, but also will help us to attract new talent on the editorial side of the business.”

This makes the second new addition to the team since its purchase, with the company having recently also added Content Specialist Sydné Unnerstall, who assists in creating content for wwwCountertopResource.com, which is updated daily.

Resource Publishing is continuing to expand its staff going forward to include additional writers and executives now that the site has been upgraded to a faster, dedicated server, and is also undergoing a major overhaul that will not only modernize the look of the site making it more user-friendly, but also add several new offerings and capabilities further expanding its value to the countertop community.

For more information about www.CountertopResource.com, please visit the website directly or email Editor and Content Manager Rebecca Devlin at [email protected] or call (971) 274-0403. For sales information or to contact new Sales Account Representative Paul Wisnefski, email [email protected] or call (262) 498-4184.

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Braxton-Bragg Adds New Team Members

Posted on 21 May 2020 by cradmin3

Shawn Rice

Braxton-Bragg has hired Shawn Rice to manage its outside sales efforts. Rice has more than 25 years of experience in strategy and sales with strong market and product development skills. Rice will manage the rapidly-growing outside sales team, adding sales associates and vans in new regions, while working hand-in-hand with the company’s inside sales and audit teams.

Al Alvarez

The company has answered the customer call for more presence in Texas by expanding its van fleet and hiring experienced sales consultant Al Alvarez to service the San Antonio, Austin and Dallas markets. Alvarez, a United States Army veteran, has nearly 20 years of successful sales experience, including eight years at Makita, making him familiar with Braxton-Bragg’s customer base. 

Braxton-Bragg has heavily invested in CNC tooling and equipment, as well as top industry executives, to innovate the way it goes to market. At a time when many companies are reducing staff, Braxton-Bragg has expanded with four new outside sales consultants and six new sales associates. Additionally, managers with extensive stone industry and CNC expertise have joined the company in order to strengthen its footprint and grow that sector of its business.

In addition, the Braxton-Bragg team has brought an operations expert on board to manage the company’s new FREE shop analysis program, helping fabricators streamline operations and inventory for increased profit and efficiency.

You may also be interested in this article: NEOLITH Announces New Vice President of Sales & Operations of North America

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Stone Services Group Directs Debut of Hot Sauce Software System

Posted on 22 November 2019 by cradmin

The newly formed Stone Services Group (SSG) has announced its immediate engagement with Ignite Consulting Group (ICG) to sell and market ICG’s industry-specific selling software, Hot Sauce. SSG is a fabricator-focused services company that partners with countertop fabricators to implement new tools and processes that grow sales and increase profits.

SSG was formed when industry experts came together to identify the unique needs of countertop fabricators. SSG is led by Rich Katzmann, former President of Laser Products Industries; Kyle Welker, General Manager of Precision Measuring & Training (PMT); and four other individuals who offer more than 50 years of industry experience in operations, customer service/sales, templating, scheduling, and programming.

ICG, designer and developer of Hot Sauce, the comprehensive, easy-to-use software system that can boost profit immediately, has partnered with SSG to officially launch its revolutionary product. The system is entirely turnkey with pre-set software built for customer interaction and purchase. It also includes more than 50 unique, upsell items collected over the years to immediately add profit. In fact, more than 75 percent of the items in the collection have no cost of goods and generate pure earnings.

“SSG’s launch is already at fever pitch,” explains SSG’s Katzmann. “Not only have we launched a much requested and entirely unique business services company in the stone industry, our first client, ICG’s Geoffrey Gran, is a true leader and innovator. We are thrilled to partner with him, and sell and market his Hot Sauce software.”

“The countertop industry can be difficult, and many fabricators are excellent at producing countertops but sometimes struggle with sales, marketing and improving profits,” explains Gran. “Our goal at ICG is to provide simple solutions that provide instant returns for our Customers. SSG has an experienced knowledge base of our industry and combines that with strategic thinking and best practices. We know how powerful the Hot Sauce software is and the immediate impact it makes on a company’s bottom line, and SSG will help get the word out to the entire fabrication network.”

For more information about Stone Services Group, visit stoneservicesgroup.com

You may also be interested in articles in our Business Sense series.

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Sell Your White Granite Countertops

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Sell Your White Granite Countertops

Posted on 29 August 2019 by CRadmin2

Granite is a very popular selection for modern countertops, but the trend has always been in darker colors. White granite is becoming increasingly well known, and the tips in this video from Edenhall Kitchens in Southampton, Penn., can be passed on to your prospective customers in order to make that tough sale.

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Business Sense: Communication and Empathy Lead to Sales

Posted on 09 March 2017 by cradmin

6a015434939e0e970c01a511bd3d00970cThe prevailing attitude toward salespeople outside the profession is that the work is best suited to those who are obnoxious or, at the very least, aggressive, but the reality of the situation is that you can catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar. Leaders in sales positions understand that closing deals all comes down to two factors: empathy and communication.

While many businesses believe that they foster open communication between employees and with customers, and many of them do, there is always a little room for improvement. However, when it comes to empathy, there is usually much more room for improvement, but cultivating empathy can be very difficult.

Having empathy for your current and prospective customers means that you can relate to what they are feeling, and one of the most effective ways to cultivate empathy in your sales team is to ensure they experience what your customers experience. An easy way to accomplish this is to have them personally use the products or services they are selling.

Liz Tambasco, a seasoned business consultant in the countertop industry, revealed on episode 2 of the StoneTalk podcast that every new customer service representative at her countertop company was required to have his or her kitchen ripped apart. This helped them empathize with customers by understanding exactly how disruptive a kitchen remodel can be.

Once you have the ability to empathize with customers and prospects, it is simple matter to open the doors of communication. It is possible to set expectations and explain the entire process on a personal level. This also provides a chance to show that your company is capable of carrying out everything you say you will be doing.

Read the full article by Harry Hollander of Moraware here: Sales = Communication + Empathy

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How to Get More Done in Less Time, and Free Up More Time for Selling

Posted on 12 January 2017 by CRadmin2

By Art Sobczak

Most of us would agree that we could sell more if we just had more time, or, realistically, better control of our time. After all, you can’t manage time any more than you can manage the weather. You can only control what you do with that time while on the phone–and off–to squeeze more productivity from every day.

Here are strategies and specific tactics to rid yourself of the feeling that you’re running in place, and instead, spend more time doing what you do best: selling.

Lists, Lists, Lists…

Like anything else productive, you must start with a plan.

  1. Don’t make a “to do” list at the beginning of the day. Make a “To Get Done” list. View your plans as something you’ll accomplish, not as an activity you’ll try to perform.
  1. According to author and certified management consultant Jeff Davidson, after preparing your “to get done today,” list, categorize the tasks under “urgent” and “not-so-urgent. Then, as unexpected hassles blindside you during the day, start a second list, the stuff you’ll get to tomorrow (after all, it’s normally the little fires that ignite during the day that steal our attention from even the best-intentioned plans, and upon close analysis, much of it truly can wait). Then, right before leaving, transfer today’s unfinished business to tomorrow’s list so you’re back to just one list.
  1. Do one more list. Harold Taylor, editor of Time Management Report, suggests that a “not to do” list is just as important as the others. Since managing time is a “zero-sum” activity, every item of secondary importance that you pinch from your schedule frees up that much more time to be invested in revenue-generating activities. Therefore, refuse to let yourself get caught in time-wasting meetings or committees that aren’t mandatory, and delegate clerical work whenever possible. Also, put this on your “not to do” list: don’t chase prospects who won’t commit to anything.

Ideas From the Experts

I asked an expert on the subject, Jeffrey Mayer, author of the book “Time Management for Dummies,” for some quick tips professionals can use.

  • Review your “Master To Do” list throughout the day. This ensures you don’t spend time looking at one pile after another, trying to decide what to tackle next, getting depressed in the process, and then saying “screw it” and getting up for another cup of coffee or a chat with your neighbor.
  • Do the important stuff first. That’s what you’re paid for. Make the bigger calls, work on the larger proposals, the more difficult projects … all early before the inevitable little annoyances begin chipping away at you.
  • Don’t let the arrival of e-mail messages, voice mail messages, or postal mail interrupt you. You know that when you’re engrossed in something you’re on a roll. Discipline yourself. And when you do review these interruptions, sort out the items that need immediate attention and add them to your Master To Get Done List. The others can be left for later. Or trashed.

Dan Wallace wrote an article in Home Office Computing called “Do Twice as Much in Half the Time.” I’ve excerpted and adapted the ideas that apply here.

  • Ask for the first appointment of the day. Whether it be a phone appointment, or in person, it’s the one least likely to start late.
  • Update your contact-management program and keep it current. Place a printout of your accounts/prospects by the phone and make manual corrections on the paper when you receive mail back or otherwise hear someone has moved on. Then, when you’re on terminal hold with someone, update them in the computer.
  • Rearrange your work space. Use the “near-far” rule. Keep things you use frequently at arm’s length, and things you don’t use often far out of the way. If piles are cluttering your desk, invest in some shelves.
  • If you’re right handed, place your phone on your left and keep a pad and pencil nearby. If you’re a lefty, do the opposite.
  • When you have a backlog on your voice mail, write or type the messages, and delete them. You won’t waste time scrolling through them the next time you check your system.
  • Use the lunch hour to return calls that require only a short answer, or when you’re posing a simple question. Many people will be away from their desks and you’ll reach voice mail.
  • Discourage interruptions. If you have an office, stick a sign on the door that says, “Important sales calls in progress.” Or, hang one on your cubicle that reads, “Door closed.”

More Tips

Here are even more tips I’ve accumulated over the years to help you more effectively control your time, and squeeze more production out of every day.

  • Flush your account files. I’m astounded by the rubbish that resides in many reps’ follow-up files, some of it not even as valuable as garage sale leftovers. Read the skimpy account notes, and you see a long list of comments like, “Not ready now, check back in 6 weeks.” Simple math tells you that time you spend trying to push a two-ton rock up a hill would be better invested looking for someone you have a chance with. Set an objective for a decision of any type on your next contact with these people. Ask, “When do you feel you’ll move forward with a purchase?” You save time on your calls, and the results are more pleasing.
  • Know when and how to say “No.” I’ve seen far too many sales reps who feel obligated to jump through hoops at the request of prospects who want to pick their brain, or otherwise want obscure product information or other research done. And reps comply without even knowing if they’ll get something in return! Before investing inordinate amounts of time with prospects, be certain there’s a potential payoff. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’ll be happy to do this for you. I’m assuming you want it because this is something you’re interested in, and that we’ll be working together on a purchase?”
  • Help people get to the point. Those who just want to chit-chat with you are pick-pockets. You wouldn’t let them snatch a $20 bill off your desk, would you? That’s what they’re doing with your time. Regardless of whether they’re customers, peers, or vendors, politely help them explain the reason they’re talking to you: “So how can I assist you?”/”What can I do for you?”
  • Talk in the past tense. To signify the end of the call you can say, “It’s really been great speaking with you …” or, “I’m glad we had the chance to talk.”
  • Reschedule personal interruptions. When friends call to chat, let them know you’re busy, but still want to speak with them.

“Mike great to hear from you. I want to hear all about your vacation to North Dakota. I’ve got some business calls I need to make here, so what’s the best time tonight for me to call you back?”

  • Use “Power Blocking.” Set aside blocks of 45-minute time blocks for activities, and do nothing but that during those times. For example, you might have two blocks of prospecting, and three blocks for follow-up calls during the day. This helps you focus and avoid spraying your activity in all directions.
  • Take the “Why am I doing this?”-test. When engaged in a questionable activity … stuffing envelopes … writing a proposal to a marginal prospect, ask why you’re doing it. If you can’t honestly say it’s either making you or the company money (or saving money), don’t do it. Or delegate it.
  • Analyze and adjust your work hours. You might be physically present for eight hours, but how much work do you get done during that time? Perhaps by coming in a half-hour earlier each day, you can accomplish what would normally be two hours worth of work later in the day. That would be like squeezing out another ten hours worth of production per week!
  • Never write memos or E-mail again. Got something important (and is it really that important, anyway?) to say to someone internally? Say it as you walk by their desk. Or call them for goodness sakes! I know, I know, some situations require that you cover your behind with a written record, but most are just plain drains of your time.
  • Go public with your intentions. If you must do something for someone else, commit to completing it by a specific time. Saying, “I’ll have that price quote to you by 2:00,” forces you to get right on it and complete the task. It avoids procrastination.
  • Turn wait time into productive time. If you think it’s dumb to waste money, it’s even more asinine to waste time. After all, you’ll make more money. Even Bill Gates couldn’t buy more time. Think of all the places you wait … in traffic jams, at the airport, doctor appointments, mechanics, and so on. Always carry with you a file of reading or light paperwork you need to get done. Doing it during this idle wait time eases the frustration of waiting, employs that time productively, and frees up your work time for more important tasks.

And Finally, The Most Important Point of All …

No tips on time control will do any good unless you desire to be a lean time machine. Do you?

It’s simple: if you want to get more done, you will. And from that desire flows your plan … your monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly plans for accomplishment. There’s no magic here. It’s back to the basics. If you have that burning desire, implement these ideas and you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time, and selling more by phone.

About the Author

Art Sobczak gives real world, how-to, conversational ideas and techniques helping business-to-business salespeople use the phone more effectively to prospect, sell, service, and manage accounts without “rejection.” Art is author of numerous books, taped training programs, and publisher of the TELEPHONE SELLING REPORT sales tips newsletter. He’s also a speaker and trainer, providing high-content, one-hour to multiple-day customized speeches and seminars.

Copyright© 2017, Art Sobczak. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at email [email protected]

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Surviving Uncertainty in Today’s Market: 6 Secrets to Keeping Your Balance, Business and Humor

Posted on 15 December 2016 by CRadmin2

By Julie Escobar

What you may not realize is that uncertainty can be a good thing. It can force us out of our comfort zone and propel us to get creative, get resourceful and, most importantly, take action.

If you’re ready to loosen the grip of uncertainty on your career, then I invite you to adopt the following six secrets. Attitude is everything. Well, almost everything, anyway. Consider the study recently conducted by Harvard Business School, which reported the four key elements for success in life:

  1. Experience
  2. Knowledge
  3. Intelligence
  4. Attitude

Stop and think for a moment how you would answer that survey if polled. How would you rate each of these factors in order of importance? Harvard found that experience, knowledge and intelligence comprise only 7 percent of the elements for success. Attitude represented a whopping 93 percent. Imagine that! The most critical facet is also the one we have the MOST control over. So, take control. Rid yourself of the negative and empower yourself with the positive, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping uncertainty at bay.

Over-Prepare. What happens when you know for a fact that you are ready for anything? When you’ve done your homework, practiced, drilled, rehearsed, dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” on your to-do list? Over-preparing for your next job will fill you with the confidence and CERTAINTY you need to win. Our company president always teaches the importance of going those extra steps to be practiced and prepared. So much so, that even if someone were to wake you in the middle of the night from a sound sleep and asked you, “Will you cut your profit?” the words and mannerisms would flow from you naturally and effortlessly with your profit intact!

Market Statistics. There’s never been a more important time to know your numbers than right now. The people who succeed in today’s market are masters of information. They bring to the appointment table all the ammunition you need to prove the quality and prices of your products and services. This affords your clients peace of mind and satisfies two extraordinary essentials for surety and success: confidence and credentials.

Stick to a Schedule. Without it, it’s simply too easy to get off track and find yourself in a rut, and nothing can fuel uncertainty quite like a good old-fashioned rut. Put yourself on a clear, concise, tight schedule, which includes that all important, must-do prospecting time each day. A precise and practical approach to working ON your business not just IN your business will allow you to not just be more productive but also eliminate a great deal of stress in your days. Prioritize your to-do list and keep those “money” activities such as prospecting, presenting and closing on the top of that list.

Master Your ABCs. In today’s market you must always be closing. Our market is quickly changing, shifting and making adjustments, and now is the time to help your customers make the right decisions rather than play the procrastination game. To close is to ask, and to ask is to list. Ask to accept. Ask to reduce. Ask to buy. Sound simple? It is. So go ahead – ASK!

More Is More. Times have changed. The cheese has moved. The economy is shifting. All of these are factors far beyond our control and all represent the change we are all feeling today. It’s all right though. That’s the nature of the beast. Nothing lasts – not the good or the bad – but certainly, how we react to change plays a large role in whether we survive, thrive or find ourselves looking for “a real job.”

The not-so-secret secret here is to do more. Be better. Get stronger at your skill sets. Master your dialogues. Do your homework. Start earlier and stay later when you have to. Readjust your calendars. Create more value for your customers. CONSISTENTLY stay in touch with your sphere of influence. Commit to learning, fine-tuning and crafting your presentations and your presence. Challenge yourself to step outside what “you’ve always done” and seek to go further than you’ve ever gone.

I found an interesting quote today by Ilya Prigogine, “The future is uncertain, but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.” What a great reminder that is for us to ignite our ingenuity. Tony Robbins tells us that one of the most defining factors that control and shape what we do and how well we succeed is not resources but resourcefulness. In other words, it’s not your broker, not your colleagues, not the market and certainly not the new stationary that determines your success or failure. It’s that deep down emotion that allows you to REALLY want something that powers your resourcefulness to make it happen.

Keep Your Humor. Finally, keep your sense of humor about you. If you truly implement these ideas, you are bound to feel some change, some growing pains and, uh-oh, some uncertainty. Roll with it. Laugh out loud with your friends and your family. Let your hair down, and gift yourself with the medicinal power of laughter. Whether you are a “Jack” or a “Jill” – all work and no play makes for a dull life and a sure case of burnout.

I hope you’ve picked up a secret or two to help you not just survive but truly thrive in this industry. By the way – they aren’t REALLY secrets, just reminders, so feel free to NOT keep them to yourself. Share with the people you care about, the new guy or girl who’s just starting out, that old-timer in the corner who can’t seem to get out of the rut and anyone else who could use a little “shot in the arm.”

One of the best ways to create abundance in your life, financially, emotionally, spiritually and in your career, is to share the wealth. The capacity in which you’ll find it boomeranging back to you is extraordinary.

About the Author

Julie Escobar
Copyright© 2016, Julie Escobar. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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Laser Products Announces New Sales Managers & Territories

Posted on 11 October 2016 by cradmin

laser-productsLaser Products Industries, a leader in digital templating, has experienced significant growth over the past few years. This growth prompted the company to add to its sales territories and staff in order to continue to offer the same quality of service.

Laser Products announced Aaron Alexander as the new Northwest Sales Manager. Alexander has spent the last two years as a sales manager for the fabric division. He has trained users to template highly complex jobs with ease and to streamline their production workflow. The past year he has also trained hundreds of customers in the stone division. Because of this experience, Alexander has the knowledge and dedication needed to carry on as a regional salesman.

Drew Thornton has also transitioned from the industrial fabrics division to the countertop division as the South Central Sales Manager. Thornton spent almost 20 years in the countertop fabrication industry, most of that time, selling laser templators for the company. Before making the switch to industrial fabrics, Thornton worked with countertop companies in the southeast United States and will now be servicing many of those customers again.

You may also be interested in this article about Laser Products’ partnership with Slabsmith

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Building a Sum Even Greater Than Its Parts: Why It’s Essential to Create a Cohesive Sales Team

Posted on 28 July 2016 by cradmin

By Becky Wenner

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.” Henry Ford, one of the great industrialists of the 20th century, said that about the importance of teamwork and of how it applies to businesses of all sizes.

Today’s economy is more diverse and more fiercely competitive than ever before, yet Ford’s insights still ring true today. Whether you are leading a small sales team, managing a large sales department or are part of a group of sales professionals, your personal success is going to hinge on building an ambitious, motivated team that can work together towards a common objective.

Even where sales targets are met individually, they are meant to be assigned to all members of a team. A team that meets and exceeds its combined targets is far more valuable than one where only a few succeed and the rest fail.

Work together for sales and against the corrosive effects of disunity. Infighting or squabbles with other departments isn’t just bad for morale, it also leads to lost business. Here at Engage Selling, we once worked with a company that had lost a quarter of a million dollar account because the sales and the engineering teams didn’t trust each other enough to communicate properly.

That’s a tough loss for any company. Worse still, it’s entirely preventable.

Ensure your group keeps meeting and exceeding their sales targets. Implement the following five tips on creating a cohesive sales team.

Choose people whose team skills even the balance.  When hiring sales professionals, be sure to look for people who demonstrate more than just a healthy competitive streak. They need to show they have team-oriented skills, too. These are not contradictory qualities. All proven sales people have the motivation and the tools to succeed on their own, but the truly exceptional ones are able to help others on their team succeed as well.

Open the communication channels in-house. Ensure you are communicating cross-departmentally on a regular basis. Bring in your engineering teams, your implementation teams and your customer service teams so you can have meetings that inform each group about what the others are doing in the common pursuit of serving the customer.

Eliminate ambiguity. Within your sales team, ensure everyone is clear about the sales structure and about how they are being paid. Sales teams can quickly become dysfunctional when staff is expected to perform well while dealing with unanswered questions (e.g., “Is that my lead or yours?” and “Do I get paid for this service I’m providing?”). Fill in the gray areas. Create well-defined sales agreements and compensation agreements.

Don’t compete against your own team. If you are a sales leader, make sure you are not selling directly to the customer. Some of the most dysfunctional sales teams I have coached got that way because the sales leader was competing directly against his own sales team. Your job is not to sell directly. It’s to help each sales person close more business.

Celebrate success. Dysfunctional sales teams stay that way because all they hear is bad news or negative feedback. Granted, a sales person’s commission is a fine motivator on an individual level, but what I am talking about here is what you can do to show that money isn’t the only reward for hard work. Good sales professionals leave organizations when they feel they’re not being recognized. So celebrate big wins. Ensure that every team member feels like they are contributing. Ask for their opinions. Celebrate when a new hire wins a new customer. If customer service or engineering has also helped in that win, make sure you include them in the congratulations as well.

A happy, motivated sales team that knows how it is going to be paid and communicates throughout the organization is the team that’s going to help you meet and exceed your sales goals…year after year.

Copyright ©2012, Becky Wenner. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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When Negotiating, Money Isn’t As Important As You Think

Posted on 03 September 2015 by cradmin

By Roger Dawson

Let me tell you about my pet subject: When you’re selling your product or service, money is way down the list of things that are important to the other side.

People Want to Pay More, Not Less

After two decades of training salespeople, I have become convinced that price concerns salespeople more than it does the people to whom they sell. I’ll go even further than that – I think that customers who may be asking you to cut your price are secretly wishing that they could pay more for your product. Hear me out before you dismiss this as being imbecilic.

I was the merchandise manager at the Montgomery Ward store in Bakersfield, Calif., back in 1971. Although Bakersfield was not a large town, the store ranked 13th in volume in a chain of more than 600 stores. Why did it do so well? In my opinion, it was because head office left us alone and allowed us to sell to the needs of the local population.

The important element here is that you must give customers a reason for spending more money, but if you can do that, they want to spend more money, not less. I think that spending money is what Americans do best. We love to spend money. We spend $6 trillion a year in this country, and if we could walk into a store and find a salesclerk who knew anything about the merchandise, we’d spend $7 trillion a year. And that’s when we’re spending our own hard-earned, after-tax dollars.

What if you’re asking someone who works at a corporation to spend the company’s money? There’s only one thing better than spending your own money, and that’s spending someone else’s money. If that weren’t enough, remember that corporate expenditures are tax deductible, so Uncle Sam is going to pick up 40 percent of the bill.

So, I believe that we’ve had it all wrong for all these years. When we’re trying to sell something to somebody, he or she doesn’t want to spend less money; he or she wants to spend more. However, you do have to do two things:

  1. You must give buyers a reason for spending more.
  2. You must convince buyers that they could not have gotten a better deal than the one you’re offering.

That second point is where Power Negotiating comes in because everything I teach is designed to convince the other people that they won the negotiation and that they couldn’t have done better. Let’s face it, does what you pay for something really matter? If you’re going to buy a new automobile, does it matter if you spend $20,000 or $21,000? Not really, because you’ll soon forget what you paid for it, and the slight increase in payments is not going to affect your lifestyle. What really matters is the feeling that you got the best possible deal.

You don’t want to go to work the next morning and have everybody crowded around to admire your new car when somebody says, “My friend bought one of those, and he paid only $20,000. You should have gone to Main Street Auto Mall.” That’s what hurts – the feeling that you didn’t get the best deal.

The objection that every salesperson hears most is the price objection. “We’d love to do business with you, but your price is too high.”

Let me tell you something about that. It has nothing to do with your price. You could cut your prices 20 percent across the board and you’d still hear that objection. I trained the salespeople at the largest lawn mower factory in the world. You probably own one of their products because they manufacture most of the low-end, private-label lawn mowers that discount and chain stores sell. Nobody can undercut their production cost on lawn mowers. They have it down to such a science that if you bought one of their mowers at Home Depot and you tipped the kid who carries it to your car a dollar; the kid made more on the lawn mower than the factory did. That’s how slim their profit margins are. However, when I asked them to tell me the number one complaint they hear from the buyers at stores, guess what they told me? You got it. “Your prices are too high.”

Instead of letting this kind of thing work you up into a sweat, adopt the attitude that negotiating is a game. You learn the rules of the game, you practice, practice, practice until you get good at it, and then you go out there and play the game with all the gusto you can muster.

The next time you’re trying to get somebody to spend money remember that they really want to spend more money with you, not less. All you have to do is give them a reason and convince them that there’s no way they could get a better deal.

Things That Are More Important Than Money

A reporter at a press conference once asked Astronaut Neil Armstrong to relate his thoughts as Apollo 11 approached the moon. He said, “All I could think of was that I was up there in a spaceship built by the lowest bidder.” A cute line, but he was falling prey to a popular misconception that the government must do business with anybody who bids the lowest price. Of course, that’s not true, but it’s amazing how many people believe it.

I once found myself sitting next to a Pentagon procurement officer on a flight to the East Coast, and I raised this point with him. “All the time I hear that the government has to buy from the lowest bidder. Is that really true?”

“Heavens no,” he told me. “We’d really be in trouble if that were true. Cost is far from the top of the list of what’s important to us. We’re far more concerned with a company’s experience, the experience of the workers and the management team assigned to the product, and their ability to get the job done on time. The rules say that we should buy from the lowest bidder who we feel is capable of meeting our specifications. If we know that a particular supplier is the best one for us, we simply write the specifications to favor that supplier.”

So even with the federal government, price is far from the most important thing. When you’re dealing with a company that doesn’t have legal requirements to put out a request for bids, it’s far from the top of the list.

Just for the fun of it, review the following list of things that are probably more important than price to buyers.

  • The conviction that they are getting the best deal you’re willing to offer.
  • The quality of the product or service. This is an interesting one because I frequently hear from salespeople that they sell an item that has become a commodity, and it doesn’t matter which source the buyer uses and that the buyer wants only the lowest price. Baloney. If that were true 90 percent of companies supplying such products or services would be out of business. If that were true, the only company that could exist in the market place would be the one offering the lowest price, and that’s a nonsensical proposition.
  • The terms that you offer. Many companies make more on the financing of their product than they do the sale of the product. I recently leased a top-of-the-line luxury automobile and became convinced that making the car was only a small part of what this company did. The real money was in financing the lease or the purchase.
  • The delivery schedule that you offer. Can you get it to them when they need it and be counted upon to keep on doing that? Do you offer a just-in-time delivery system?
  • The guarantees that you offer and, in general, how well you stand behind what you do. I once paid several hundred dollars to buy a product from a Sharper Image store. After a few months, a part on it broke, and I called their 800 number to see if they would take care of the problem. After listening to me only long enough to understand what the problem was, the operator said, “If you’ll give me your address, I’ll FedEx a replacement part to you.” No other questions were asked. When a company stands behind what it does to that extent, am I really going to worry about whether they have the lowest price or not? Of course not.
  • Building a working partnership with you and your company. The old adversarial relationship between vendor and customers is disappearing as astute companies realize the value of developing a mutually beneficial partnership with their suppliers.
  • Credit. A line of credit with your company may be more important than price, especially to new builders where cash flow is cyclical, and you could take up the slack during the lean months.
  • Your staff. When the contract calls for something to be made or a service to be performed, other factors may be more important than price: The quality of the workers that you will assign to the job. The level of management that you will assign to oversee the work. The ability and willingness to tailor your product and installation to their needs.
  • The respect that you will give them. Many times, a company will move from a large vendor to a smaller one because they want to be a substantial part of the vendor’s business to have more leverage.
  • Peace of mind. AT&T keeps my telephone business although they are more expensive than Sprint and MCI and have never pretended that they aren’t. I stay with them because the service has been trouble-free and simple to use for many years, and I have more important things concerning me than switching long distance companies to save a few pennies a call.
  • Reliability. Can they trust that the quality of your product and service will stay high?

Finding Out How Much a Seller Will Take

Now let’s look at some techniques to find out the seller’s lowest price. When you are buying, the negotiating range of the seller ranges from the wish price (what they’re hoping you’ll pay) all the way down to the walk-away price (at anything less that this they will not sell at all). The same is true in reverse with the buyer. How do we uncover the seller’s walk-away price? Let’s say that your neighbor is asking $15,000 for his pick-up truck. Here are some techniques you can use to uncover his lowest price.

  • Ask. That may seem incredibly naive, but if the buyer is not a good negotiator, he or she may just tell you what’s on their mind.
  • Drop out of contention, but say you have a friend who might be interested. You might say, “Thanks for showing it to me but it’s really not what I’m looking for. However, I do have a friend who’s looking for something like this, but he doesn’t have much money. What’s the very least you’d take?”
  • Nibble for a finder’s fee. “If my friend did buy it from you, would you give me a $500 finder’s fee?”
  • Have other people make super-low offers to lower the expectation of the seller. This is unethical of course, but I’ll tell you about it so that you will recognize it when it’s used against you. If the seller has high hopes of getting $15,000 for his truck, your offer of $10,000 may sound like an insult. However if he’s had only two offers so far, one for $7,000 and the other for $8,000, when you come along and offer him $10,000, he may jump at it.
  • Make a low offer subject to the approval of a higher authority. “My buddy and I are going in on this so I’ll have to run this by him, but would you take $10,000?”

Now let’s look at some techniques that a seller could use to find out how much a buyer is willing to pay. Let’s say that you sell switches to computer manufacturers. Here are some techniques you could use:

  • Raise their top offer by hypothesizing what your higher authority might be willing to do. Perhaps they buy similar switches now for $1.50 and you’re asking $2.00. You might say, “We both agree we have a better quality product. If I could get my boss down to $1.75, would that work for you?”
  • Determine their quality standards by offering a stripped down version. “We may be able to get down below $1.50 if you don’t care about copper contacts. Would that work for you?” In this way, you probably get them to acknowledge that price isn’t their only concern. They do care about quality.
  • Establish the most they can afford by offering a higher quality version. “We can add an exciting new feature to the switch, but it would put the cost in the $2.50 range.” If the buyer shows some interest in the feature, you know that they could pay more. If he or she says, “I don’t care if it’s diamond plated. We can’t go over $1.75,” you know that fitting the product to a price bracket is a critical issue.
  • Remove yourself as a possible vendor. This disarms the buyer and may cause him to reveal some information that he wouldn’t if they thought you were still in the game. You say, “Joe, we love doing business with you, but this item is just not for us. Let’s get together on something else later.” Having disarmed Joe in this way, a little later, you can say, “I’m sorry we couldn’t work with on the switches, but just between you and me what do you realistically think you can buy them for?”

As you can see from all we’ve talked about here, there’s a lot to be said about the subject of price. Power Negotiators know not to exacerbate the price problem by assuming that price is uppermost in the other person’s mind. Also it is ludicrous to say that what you sell is a commodity, and you have to sell for less than your competitor’s price for you to get the sale.

About the Author

Roger Dawson, CSP, CPAE is one of North America’s top negotiating experts and a leading sales and management speaker. He is the author of “Secrets of Power Negotiating,” which is one of the biggest selling audio programs ever published. His latest book, Secrets of Power Persuasion for Salespeople, is now in bookstores and is a must read for all salespeople.

Copyright© 2015, Roger Dawson. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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