One of the most common request we get from our participants and clients, are that they would like to be more in control, be more confident, and to have a great tool box that they can use in different situations that occur.
The issues they bring up, on both sides, are that the customers are not responding, to long presentations, not addressing the right issues, too much time spent on arguing back and forth, price focus and not listening well enough.
It does not help if your business intentions are good, if your opponent has another view of how your relationship should evolve in the long or short term, and if they are tired of long useless arguments that do not address their issues and constrains.
In many cases, we can see that the reason for business relationships to have gone wrong over time, are due to how both parties have acted, and in what way they have started off their business relationships.
To simplify, both are to blame for different reasons, one is that if they start of by being too eager to get a deal, the other party quickly grabs the possibility to put them selves in a better power position.
Most relationships starts of by trying to spin the customer in such a way that each gets what they want without giving in to much to each other, in most cases it does not end by one or the other just saying yes, especially not to price.
Most cases we see are more about trying to hammer away at each other until one side gives in or accepts the deal for different reasons.
It is like the Chinese Water torture, when you keep hammering away great arguments at each other, until one side gives in or is convinced.
Most employers train their people to become great persuaders or to spin their idea in the most convincing way, the problem with this is that it does not always work for one or both parties, or at least does not meet the goals they have set.
Worst of all, are the ones that start way over their goals, hoping that they will compromise and meet half way, as if that never back fires, next time you meet the same customers, you have already set a precedent, that will take years to come back from.
The problem with this strategy is that most opponents can see this coming and you only put your self in the situation of a slow surrender to for example price, if you do not know how to use other skills or tools in your tool box.
The basic problems with sales and presentations courses is that they do not give you the skill set to reach your goals if you run in to different issues, or more common end up in a big argument against or for why your idea is so great or not.
Most times we can see salespeople spend the majority of time trying to argue or convincing the buyer to say yes, or if you are the buyer, it is the other way around.
This development has meant that many companies nowadays are implementing filters in to their business chain to prevent or to block this kind of behavior. In some cases, as a seller, you are not even meeting the decision maker on the other side, but just a gate keeper that can not answer anything, or his only job is to make sure you fill in the spread sheet correctly.
In other cases you are only communicating by mail or a website, answering a bunch of questions that don't address important needs or issues, other than price.
When it comes to open bidding online, I have to say, is an article in it self.
The reason for this development is that, it is a very effective way of dismantling a sellers arguments and forcing him into just give the facts the buyer want or at least would like to have on his conditions.
It alters, in some cases, the power balance so much that buyers and sellers starts to look for new dirty tricks to out smart each other or to rigg systems that only have one purpose, to corner each other. What a great way to build relationships.
The best examples of how to solve these kind of situations is to learn from several real cases from the real business world, but most companies decide to learn this the hard way, by making many expensive misstakes over a lot of years.
The worst examples we see, end by building a long list of arguments that they keep on throwing at their opponent, hoping some of the arguments will either stick or at least, erode the opposition they meet.
Well, I will not argue with you if you have a different view of how it looks out there in your business world.
But if you are looking for a greater tool box and you think you can use some more tools beside a hammer to get what you want, I can tell you more.
We can show you a lot of tools we have in our tool box for you, you will probably pick the tools you need, we can help you choose which one you need in your world.
But remember, as for any craftsmanship, you have to practice how to use your tool box in your world, it does not help if you keep on falling back to old habits, that's why we spend 80% on training you, and only 20%, telling you what to do.
The best part is that we can prove it to you (ROI) and have the references for it. That is why we keep on focusing on negotiations skills, because they can help you go further in difficult times, especially when nothing else seems to work.
Christopher Bell Blomquist
Managing director Scotwork Sweden