The seven symptoms that your sales team is not negotiating effectively...

Most people make the mistake of thinking of “sales” as one process requiring one set of skills. It’s not.

Every new sale involves two very distinct tasks: converting a prospect into a willing buyer and turning that buying interest into a profitable deal.  In short: selling and negotiating.

Under-performance in either of these two tasks is costly to the bottom line.

A great salesperson with poor negotiation skills will deliver promising leads, but then lose important business to competitors. Deals are often one-dimensional, one-off and at poor margins. Volume is often achieved at the expense of client satisfaction and sacrificing price, rather than negotiating for value.

In contrast, a poor salesperson with great negotiation skills will excel at developing new business from existing clients and deliver sustainable deals at good margins. Their struggle is to grow the business by delivering new clients.

No business can afford a sales team that does not excel at both selling and negotiating.

How do you tell whether your team needs to develop their selling or negotiating skills? Here are seven symptoms that often hold sales teams back:
Yes   No
  ☐     ☐  Plenty of enquiries, but not closing enough business
  ☐     ☐  Regularly writing low-margin business
  ☐     ☐  Win-rate of bids, tenders and proposals should be higher
  ☐     ☐  The sales and delivery/fulfillment teams don’t work in close cooperation
  ☐     ☐  Too much business is one-off, rather than long-term
  ☐     ☐  Long list of ‘lapsed’ former clients
  ☐     ☐  New clients tend to come through sales and marketing, rather than referral

All of the above are hallmarks of sales teams with weak negotiation skills.  If you have ticked “Yes” three or more times, investing in professional negotiation skills training for your sales force will yield greater returns than investing in their sales skills.

It takes two to tango. In the great dance-off for business, no sales team will make the grade if their negotiation skills are limping along.

Onwards and upwards…

Matt Lohmeyer

Matt Lohmeyer