The 10 rules of Negotiation

As this month’s topic is how marketing can help Sales to deliver more deals, I thought I would use a video I’ve seen recently. It looks at negotiating and some key rules around negotiating when dealing with a prospect.

Alan McCarthy’s 10 Rules of Negotiation look at what you should and shouldn’t do.

The 10 Rules of Negotiation

  1. Don’t negotiate.
  2. Never negotiate with yourself.
  3. Never except the first offer.
  4. Never make the first offer if you can avoid it.
  5. Listen more and talk less.
  6. Never give anyone a free gift.
  7. Watch the salami.
  8. Avoid the rookie’s regret.
  9. Avoid the quick deal.
  10. Never tell anyone what your bottom line is.

When I first listened to this, I wasn’t sure that I agreed with some of them and the rule about salami really confused me when I heard the rule. Once explained, however, it was much clearer.

Watch the Salami

Salami is made from a mix of ingredients in much the same way as the products and services you provide.  Back in my old life, when I worked for an IT support company, we often broke down the pricing of a project to minute detail – and we often lost out because of it.  People would take the quotes and simply go to someone with a lower day rate.  They would use our knowledge and expertise to develop a great server network – and then save money on the overall project. It took us a while to stop, but we did in the end – and then we won more projects.  This is still something I need to watch out for and make sure I don’t break marketing projects down into too much costed detail.

Never Give anyone a Free Gift

The old saying says “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” and this is what Alan is saying here.  Whatever you give away, make sure you get something in return.

It’s not often I share other people’s content, but this video seemed to fit perfectly within this set of blogs.  I hope this helps.

How marketing data can help you close more sales

marketing data helps you sell more

You want more leads from your marketing so that you can generate more sales.

I know it’s an obvious statement, but let me challenge it for a moment.

What if you could close more of the leads you get?  Would that be just as good?

Your marketing is planned and implemented with the sole aim of generating more leads for your business. Now some will say that it is also there to develop and maintain brand awareness (usually those focused on social media), but brand awareness is there to ensure that people know who you are and what you do – so they can buy from you when the right time arises.

The question is: when is the right time?

Answer: when the data tells you it is the right time.

Let me explain.

As a B2B business (most SME Needs’ clients are B2B), you are luckier than most B2C clients.  You get a little bit more data to help you know about your clients. Let’s look at the data that is available to you and then we’ll combine it to help you close more sales.

IP Addresses

Google defines an IP address as: “a unique string of numbers separated by full stops that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.” When you are working in the B2B space, far more of the traffic to your website will come from fixed IP addresses, because many businesses have a fixed IP, rather than a dynamic one. (click here for an explanation of the difference between dynamic and fixed IPs) That means it is registered to them and so you can find out what company your visitor came from.

Email data

Your email marketing will tell you what the people on your mailing lists are doing. It will tell you who is reading (opening) your emails. It will tell you who is engaging with the Calls to Action you put in your emails. Over time, it will tell you who is engaged and who isn’t.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics won’t help you sell more (at least not directly), but it will tell you which pages on your website are working and which aren’t. It will tell you how many people are returning to your website (as a %age of total audience) and how they got there. It will even tell you how far down your pages they read.

Web Analytics

Web analytics takes things a step further and shows you what happens in individual visits and starts adding other data to those visits. Many platforms will add the IP address (see above) so you know what companies are visiting your website. If you know who your Ideal Client is, you’ve got a good chance of being able to close in on the visitor.

Web analytics will show you the path an individual visitor took through your website. Email data will show you the page they clicked through to, but not what happened then; web analytics will.

This data can show you WHO is visiting your website, what they are looking at and when they are returning. Would that be useful?

What shall I talk about?

Many sales calls go something like this:

  • Tell me about your issue.
  • These are all the things we do, so you can work out which are going to be useful to you
  • When can I come to your office and repeat what I’ve just told you?

Would this be better?

  • Tell me about your issue
  • This product/service is just what you need, as it will help with your issue
  • When can I come to your office and help you understand more about how this will help resolve your issue?

Imagine a scenario where you knew what products or services they were interested in. If you knew what they’d been looking at on your website, you know they’ve already starting thinking that service/product can help. All you’ve got to do is continue extolling the benefits and the results achievable from it. Guess what: web analytics can tell you what that person is looking at and how frequently.

When should I talk to them?

One of the most critical aspects of sales is knowing when to talk to your prospects. So if you know when someone has visited your website, you know when they are thinking about your business and your products or services. Web analytics can tell you when they return, with most platforms having functionality that will email you when someone returns to your website.

At this point, we don’t recommend you call them immediately, as that would be a little too big-brother-ish. But there’s nothing stopping you calling them later:

You: Just following up on our last conversation

Them: That’s great timing. I was looking at your website yesterday

You: Were you? What were you looking for?

Them: Just checking your [insert your product name]

You: How about we have a coffee and talk more about [insert your product name] and how it can help you.

Following up when you know they are interested in you and thinking about you dramatically increases the chances of you moving them further through your pipeline and to closing them as a new client.

If you would like to see how this works, click here.

 

Four ways Marketing helps Sales close the deal

Marketing has two roles:

  1. To develop the leads your business needs to grow.
  2. To help your sales team close the deal.

Let’s talk about the latter.

Once your Sales team takes on a lead, they have one goal: to close the deal. To do this, they must convince the prospect that your business can deliver on the promises the sales person makes. To do that they must do X things:

  1. Demonstrate that they understand the issues and problems they are trying to resolve.
  2. Show you, as a business, has the knowledge and expertise to resolve the issues and problems.
  3. Prove it.
  4. Help time the conversations.

Understanding their issues

Every business has one or more Ideal Clients. To develop a marketing plan to target the Ideal Client, they will have developed a clear picture of the issues that Ideal Client faces. This information will most likely come from two sources:

  1. Previous experience dealing with similar companies
  2. Market research

The development of the needs and issues should involve Sales when possible, but if not, this picture has to be shared with Sales.  Without the knowledge, they are at a disadvantage.

Showing you have the knowledge

The next stage, once you listed the needs and issues faced by your Ideal Client, it to match your solutions to their issues.

A sales person who can confidently explain how your business can resolve specific issues will be well on their way to closing the deal.

But a savvy buyer will accept that they can talk the talk. Now they expect them to prove that your company can walk the walk.  They want evidence that you can deliver.

Proving it

The evidence can be produced in many ways. It is the role of Marketing to collate and to share this information in a way that supports the Sales team.

  • Case studies on the website or gathered together for use in proposals.
  • Video or written testimonials shared through automated emails, based on pipeline progress.
  • Stories the sales team can use during sales meetings or networking events.

To do this, Marketing needs to liaise with both Sales and Operations to understand who the happiest clients are, what projects have gone particularly well and what the results have been. Marketing can then work with the client to produce a picture of what happened, what the results were and how happy the client was.

Helping Time the Conversations

Imagine, as a sales person, being able to time your next call to your prospects when you know they are ready to move through the pipeline. Although not strictly a Marketing function, web analytics products are often pitched at Marketing as a way of showing the performance of marketing campaigns. Web analytics will do that, but it will also tell your Sales team exactly how their prospects are engaging.  Our personal preference is a product called CANDDi, but there are many others out there.

Imagine knowing WHO is visiting your website, what they are looking at on your website and when they come back?  Would that help your Sales team?

I hope this helps explain how Marketing sits alongside Sales.  If your business is Sales-led, a Marketing function can help Sales work more effectively. If you have the age-old issue with Marketing and Sales trying to compete, bang their heads together and talk to them about how they should be working together.

I hope this helps.