Business Development

Successful Negotiation in a Business to Business Setting

Being an effective negotiator is an essential skill for any salesperson. Having negotiations to close deals and to get things moving is considered to be a standard way of doing things in retail businesses, service companies, and of course the entire range of B2B and B2C businesses. Companies with prolific negotiators will thrive, while those that have not inculcated this necessary trait for business success will have a hard time keeping out of the red.

Part science and part art, being a good negotiator is something that can, in fact, be learned and perfected over time. Here are some of the things you can do to improve your negotiation skills in a formal business setting.

Be confident, and do your homework. As soon as the negotiation starts, let those on the other side of the table know you mean business, that you know what you’re talking about, and that you have come prepared. Learn what they know, and avoid making assumptions. Do some research and figure out what they value and what they don’t, and pitch your proposal accordingly. If they don’t value what you have, the chances of striking a deal will quickly fall from slim to none.

Deal with the boss. Make sure you negotiate with the person authorized to strike deals. If you negotiate with non-decision makers, you’ll end up being stonewalled and perhaps waiting indefinitely for an answer from the superiors of those you actually spoke with.

Only start negotiations when you agree on things in principle. Can your service resolve the client’s issues? Can you provide proof of ROI? Can you fix what needs fixing, and take care of what needs taking care of? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then you are heading into a failed negotiation right from the get-go. Address the customer’s pain-points and solve their problems first, agree on things in principle, and then you can have negotiations on things such as pricing, delivery, and timelines.

Battles and wars. Sacrifice pawns for bigger gains. Be ready to give up something if you’re getting something of equal or greater value in return. For example, you may not want to give a discount for a service that is already priced competitively, but if you agree to sign a deal that includes a referral to another customer, or having the client sign early so that you can meet quarterly sales targets, then giving the discount makes sound business sense.

Don’t rush, and keep a level head. Never commit to something without taking the time to think it over; you can always call a client back later regarding a query or a request for something that came up unexpectedly. Always remember: negotiations rarely go as planned. You might be asked for a discount when you were least expecting it, or your client may threaten you with cancelling their order unless you give in to their terms. Poor decisions abound under these kinds of scenarios, so ask for time to think things over. If you have your doubts, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so know when to walk away from the table.

There’s more to business than money. Sales negotiations invariably involve discussions on price, so salespeople should, by default,  be prepared to talk about discounts. However, think of things in terms of value as well. Value is something more subjective, and value is tied to a customer's perception of, and satisfaction with, your product or service. If you focus on what you are offering in terms of benefits and utility instead of simply talking about price or cost, you might be able to get a lot more for a lot less. You’ll also be able to charge closer to your initial bid price than having to offer a deep discount to close a picky client.

You could also offer other intangibles to the client, such as free coaching and on-boarding, offering easier payment terms, or offering services in lieu of client referrals (as mentioned above) or perhaps a positive testimonial or an honorable mention on the client’s blog.

Let the client go first. Since you’ve stated your terms to your prospective client, they essentially have everything they need to make a decision, and the ball is in their court. Let them start the conversation. You may be tempted to sweeten whatever deal you just offered so that everyone can go home and call it a day, but you never know what they will say, or if they were going to go for your initial offer to begin with! Listen first, and speak only once you’ve heard everything the client has to say. That way, you avoid making assumptions and unnecessarily amending your proposal.

Never give a range. Why would someone go for 10% off if 20% off was also offered? Stick to quoting one figure, and then go higher or lower as the negotiation progresses and you have a better idea of customer demands and requirements.

And last but not least…

Keep the conversation light. Clients and salespeople may sit on opposite sides of the negotiations table during the negotiation itself, but if the deal is closed, they will both be partners. Keep things light, open, and sincere, and you’ll be able to not only build on a stronger relationship should things work out, but you’ll also be able to avoid a lot of bad blood should things not go according to plan.

 

 

Have a negotiations tactic that is especially effective in your line of work? We’d love to hear from you!

How To Write Killer Sales Email

Email marketing is relatively inexpensive, and it is typically effective for getting subscribers to your site. As such, it has one of the highest returns on investment for many e-commerce merchants. However, because of this very fact, there is so much competition when it comes to email campaigns! Some estimates place the number of emails sent each day at 205 billion , which means you are up against a lot of other people when it comes to getting screen-time from your readers.


As is true of pretty much everything, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. With that said, there are good ways and bad ways to send emails. Whether or not your sales emails or email campaigns will be successful and will speak to, engage, hook, entice, educate, and ultimately close a client for you will depend on how you pitch the content you are sending out. If you’re wondering how to execute an effective email sales campaign, read on below.

 

Know your market segments, and speak to each segment appropriately.

New subscribers respond slightly differently from regular customers. A customer may click an item directly from an email and place their order, whereas a new subscriber may visit your site, poke around a little, and do some comparison shopping before actually making a purchase.

Some simply ways to segment your markets are using recency (how recently a customer last bought from you), frequency (how often a customer buys from you), or dollar value (how much the customer typically spends with you). Large companies use complex statistical models that factor in many different data types, but for even the average company, basic segmentation will give you an edge over the competition.

Be consistent.

It may take months to see the results of a successful email-marketing campaign actually come to bloom. However, you cannot lose steam or soften in your determination, because it is only by consistently being placed in front of customers, being easy to reach, and providing useful, informative content that you will land more visitors and convert those leads to paying customers.

Perfect your pitches, and automate where possible. Craft succinct subject lines that are short and to the point. Be direct, avoid ambiguity, but keep the element of surprise open (examples of good subject lines and pre/post-meeting templates are given below). Also make sure to set up auto-response emails for the right actions: a welcome email when somebody signs up to your service, a thank you email when they make a purchase or complete a form, a referral request wherever needed, and similar custom emails for actions or events specific to your line of work.

Pro-tip: If you’re savvy when it comes to tracking where exactly your customers are in the purchase cycle, you’ll be better able to send them relevant material. A useful link, a customer review, or a product comparison would be more useful to someone in the research phase of things than a casual visitor who is just browsing. Effective targeting is key, so do your best to not only understand who is whom but keep tabs on what they’re doing and how they’re interacting with your site as well.

Simplify your content, and give whatever you can of it away for free. Email is great because it forces you to be simple, and you absolutely must be to the point, otherwise your audience won’t give you their attention. Ask yourself if you would want to read what you’re writing, and whether or not the content is written in a compelling or encouraging voice. The next thing is to see if any bloat or excess can be cut out, and finally make sure to include a call to action. All your copy and content should aim at doing one specific thing, whether it’s getting a customer to sign up for a service, or to visit a link. Whatever it is, make sure the objective is clear and obvious, otherwise you’ll have lots of fancy text that achieves no tangible goal.

Although many businesses dislike giving away information for free, customers love being given your product or business secrets. Help and educate your readers by teaching them about what’s what in the industry, and you’ll develop a loyal fan base on this initiative alone.

Try and test things to see what works. Don’t write blandly; your content, subject lines, meeting requests and follow-up emails should all speak to your customers in one way or another. You can emphasize a pain point (“How we can help you solve X”, or “How we went from X to Y in 5 easy steps”), talk about common ground (“Thought you might like to discuss X”, or “My suggestions re. Proposal A discussed last week”), or directly ask what you want to ask (“Can you refer me to X?”, or “Help me close this deal with X”).

Pro-tip: Once you’re in the groove of writing catchy subject lines and meeting invites, you’ll notice that they can be broadly categorized into a few distinct groups as below.

  • Question subject lines (“Do you do X?” or “Do you know the benefits of Y?”)
  •  ‘How to’ subject lines (“How to improve X”, or “How to avoid Y”)
  •  Limited offer subject lines (“Offer expires tonight!”, or the classic “Call back when operators are available”)
  • Basic announcement subject lines (“Introducing X”, or “Visit site Y to see XYZ”)
  •  Curiosity-gap subject lines (“You’ll never guess what happened to X”, or “Most people don’t know this established fact”)

Summary

Like every art, writing convincing, professional emails in a tone that is true to you and your business is something that takes a lot of practice. You might get things right some of the time and wrong at other times, but by knowing your customer base, being persistent in your emailing efforts, crafting your emails the right way, and continuing to plug away with lines and approaches that work, you’ll be able to hook more people more effectively. In doing so, you’ll be able to consistently grow your network and your reach, and since email isn’t expected to go out of fashion any time soon, you’ll be set to reap the benefits for a long time to come.

5 Business Development Techniques to Help You Achieve Success

Being successful at sales isn’t a hit-and- miss endeavor; rather, sales is an activity that takes careful planning, diligence, and persistence. If you’re finding that you aren’t hitting your sales numbers or are unable to meet business development goals, it might be that you don’t have an effective sales strategy.

What does having a strategy mean? Does it mean making calls? Yes, but it may be that you are making calls, but haphazardly. Does it mean reaching out to prospective clients? Sure, but you may not be following up with leads, or tracking data on which clients are more likely to close, and when. If you execute your sales and outreach initiatives in this way, your efforts may become diluted, and you lose not only momentum but customer recognition of your brand or product, not to mention all of the time and efforts that you spent bringing in the customer and educating him or her in the first place.

Developing your brand, educating customers, and creating a profitable sales channel is not an easy task. However, once you’ve given yourself a starting push, it is your sales strategy that will keep your momentum going as your business grows and you end up expending energy elsewhere, for example, in team development, or on product improvement. The strategy you have should be robust, responsive to client needs, and it should take care of itself once it has been set up.

Wondering what the best way to have a successful sales strategy is? Read on to find out!

1. KYC. Know Your Customer.

This just isn’t a fancy term for business people. In fact, it is mandated legislation for many financial institutions. You need to know who you are selling to. Define your customer segments. As the saying goes, the quickest path to failure is trying to please everyone at the same time. For businesses, the corollary is trying to serve everyone at the same time. You need one narrowly defined area on which to focus, and you can take it from there and expand to other areas, niches, or even countries once you are successful.

Know your customers

2. Pick your channels.

Will you call customers on the phone, engage them on your social media page, and send out fliers or an email newsletter, or all of the above? This report says that almost 75% of all buyers use social media and some form of comparison chart before making purchases. Further, almost three-fifths of all buyers are spending more and more time online researching products, reading reviews, and learning about different options before they reach for their wallets. So what do you need to do? Reach out to people in your network, tap into your contact lists, develop your business circle, and identify which platforms most of your customers are active on. You then have to build your own presence on those specific platforms. Doing this will put you in the right place at the right time to not only sell to high-conversion customers directly but for them to stumble across you themselves.

Know your customers

3. Under-promise and over-deliver.

Always deliver what you said you were going to deliver, do so on time, and ‘wow’ your customer. Then follow up and make sure you build on the relationship so that that client, knowingly or unknowingly, becomes an enthusiastic spokesperson for your brand. Remember that no sale ends with the sale itself, rather it should extend beyond that to become a lasting relationship between you and the customer you just closed. Your mantra should be that customers are for life, not just one-off trades.

Over Delivery Expectations

4. Be analytical.

This is an often overlooked aspect of sales strategies. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t, and improve, pivot, tweak, and experiment with things until you have a winning strategy. In fact, this report states that companies who keep detailed records and track data generated by everything from their website and social media engagement figures to ROI are 12 times more likely to generate profits year-over- year. Marketing teams too often go for whatever is new, but for how long can you do things by trial and error? Such an approach is not only expensive and time consuming, but is an unprofessional way of doing things if looked at from the data science perspective of marketing. What you should be doing is asking yourself how things went, what worked, what didn’t, did you achieve your targets, why or why not, and figure out how you can improve each step of the process incrementally. After repeating this several times over weeks and months, you’ll have a system that has been tried and tested in the market and is actually built on factual data and first-hand market research.

Analyse

5. Think big.

Most small businesses and startup entrepreneurs start small with one web page, one product or service, and one goal in mind. But if you do a good job of executing on the four things outlined above, you will hopefully find yourself in the enviable position of having too much work to do but not enough time or resources. What can you do in such a situation?

Here are a few ideas.

  • Open another location. However, only do so after maintaining consistent profits and steady growth from your original business, site, or location.
  • Franchise your idea. For sales folks, this might mean giving commission-based works to new market entrants, or having freelancers or other outsourcing companies do some of the heavy lifting for you while you main proprietary control, as well as a share of profits.
  • Licensing and alliances. These can be effective, low-cost options once you have an established brand. Look into companies providing products or services similar to yours, and align yourself with those who have similar values as you. Trying to keep all the money to yourself is actually a losing strategy; the market is big enough for everyone, so if you can give a little to get a lot, it will be worth it at the end of the day, and the sales numbers will speak for themselves.
Thank Big

In summary: 

When it comes to sales, your bottom line is defined by how well you hit the sales process on the head. It isn’t rocket science and just takes a bit of persistence and market smarts, but with a little work, intense focus on (and application of) these five points, and tweaking of your process in repeated iterations, your sales will in good shape before you know it, and all you’ll have to do is to continue drumming away.

The Psychology of Sales: Closing Deals and Influencing People

Sales are the driving force behind any business, and they are the single most important metric of success for many companies. If you are selling enough, you are doing well, and if you are not selling enough, you are not doing well (even though there are plenty of other metrics which can be used to measure business performance). The scope of sales doesn’t stop with this traditional definition.

Just think about it: everyone is a salesperson in one way or another. Whether we are trying to convince our kids to eat their vegetables, a co-worker to choose a specific restaurant to go to for lunch, (or the police about why we should be let off with a warning, just this once!) we are always trying to seal a deal or make a pitch for something in some way.

The mind is a powerful tool; it makes decisions using specific factors. If we study these factors and learn how the mind processes them, we can ‘alter’ the mind in various ways. If you ever have to wear your salesperson’s hat, whether for a job interview, to pitch a project to the board of directors, or for anything else, what tool would be more valuable than the ability to influence the decisions of your audience in the direction you want?

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the ways we can predictably convince people to act, respond, or make decisions in a specific way.

Create Contrast:

 Things don’t matter themselves as much as they do when placed against similar alternatives. As an example, if you see a line of microwave ovens priced at $150 sitting next to an overpriced $300 microwave that essentially does the same thing as the cheaper models, the cheaper ones will look like an amazing deal.

Pro-tip: Even if the comparison is not based in fact, the mind is wired to compare numbers it sees and decide on that. Come up with any simple comparison related to the work you have at hand, one that is reasonable and one that is outrageous, and your audience will more likely than not go for the reasonable one.

Create urgency around the decision:

Instead of telling someone that they can download a free e-book at any point in time, they are more likely to respond if there is a deadline for responding (meaning they may miss their chance to do so). Alternatively, saying that only the first 50 responders will receive the e-book in their email will have the same effect, even though they actually use or utility of the e-book may be the same to the responder regardless of how it is pitched to them. Limited supply triggers our sense of scarcity, so we jump on the chance to buy or register for something instead of missing out.

Pro-tip: Create a sense that the customer is getting a good deal. Saying that something is available at a reduced price (or that an intern is willing to work commitment-free for 6 months with no strings attached as a trial to prove themselves) will also encourage the decision maker to go for the offer being made.

Give something first:

Studies have shown that when people receive something first they feel obligated to reciprocate and return the favor. This can be as simple as going out of your way for someone before asking them to do something, or spending a lot of time and effort on something you know is important or helpful to them before bringing up whatever it is that you have to discuss with them. It creates a warm friendly relationship with people you may be trying to influence.

Pro-tip: Salespeople have perfected the art of creating a sense of obligation, and you have probably experienced them going an extra mile for you while showing you a car or device or furniture. People generally feel want to return the favor when you go the extra mile and demonstrate you care and understand them.

Set yourself apart:

How or why are you different from everyone else? Saying “I’m a hard worker, and I’ve won many awards” on your CV won’t really get you as far as saying that you have a unique skill or ability. Make sure you cater to what your audience needs, and emphasize those points instead of speaking in generalities.

Pro-tip: Offer less, not more. A product, service, or even an employee that is really, really good at only one thing may be worth a lot more than something that claims to do it all. Also, offering too many options can lead to analysis paralysis, where the audience, the client, or the customer end up getting stuck on deciding, instead of going ahead and deciding. Simplify things for them and focus on key strengths or offerings. By making their job of deciding easier for them, you’ll improve your chances of having them decide in your favor.

Create exclusivity:

“I’m sorry, this item is too expensive for you.” Ouch! We are by no means recommending that you say something as callous as this to your clients or customers, but by creating a sense that what you have to offer is just beyond their reach, they will want to reach for it – if for nothing else then to prove to themselves that they can in fact buy or book or register whatever it is you are pitching.

 Summary

The psychology behind how to sell is not a new area of study, and implementing it is really a combination of science and art. By incorporating some of these techniques in your everyday life – from work, sales meetings, phone calls, and interpersonal engagements – you can be a more successful, and more convincing, deal broker.

Good luck! Feel free to comment below and let us know which tricks work best for you. We’re excited to see your results!

 
Pjay

PJAY SHRESTHA

Pjay is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping businesses grow. He is the recent winner of MR. Nepal Oceania and loves writing articles about Business Development, Marketing, and Productivity Hacks. 

 
 
 

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The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Remembering Names

Most of us have experienced it. You are introduced to someone, only to forget his or her name within seconds. You rack your brain trying to remember, but can't seem to even come up with the first letter. Then you get frustrated and think, "Why is it so hard for me to remember names?"

Now we all know how important remembering names is. It's the fastest and most reliable way of building rapport, connection, and creating a good first impression. Dale Carnegie stated that a person's name is to that person the sweetest, most important sound in any language.

So why do we actually forget people's name?

You may think it's just how you were born, but that's not the case, according to Kansas State University's Richard Harris, professor of psychology. He says it's not necessarily your brain's ability that determines how well you can remember names, but rather your level of interest. The other factors that impact your ability to remember people's name are nervousness, being concerned about what to say next or thinking you are just bad at remembering names. 

So.. how do you remember a person's name?

Fortunately, there are some simple brain training strategies that can help you become better at remembering a person's name. According to Edward "Ed" Cooke a Grandmaster of Memory shared the following tips:

1. Clearly understand their name: 

It doesn't matter if you get a name wrong, people are flattered that you take an interest, so take risks, practice actively recalling. This is especially useful if their name is hard to pronounce or from a different nationality. 

2. Say the name out loud, and often:

Names exist to be said out loud. By actively using a person's name you are not only practicing it, you are also getting your mind used to the idea that you are socially interested in the person - and that will boost your memory for them yet further.

3. Spell it out:

It's easy to mishear a name, and many names are similar, such as Katie, Katherine, Kate, Cat, Caitlin, Kathy, Karen. Ask a person how their name is spelled. This gives you time to think about the name, and helps to remember it. 

4. Link the name to an amusing image:

Another powerful method for linking names to people is to treat them as little sentences. 
If someone is called Terrence Mackie, maybe imagine them walking a Terrier eating a Big Mac. If someone is called James Hood, imagine them with Jam in their Hood.

5. Link the person to a celebrity with the same name:  

Try associating people who have such names to the celebrities who share them. Linking a person called George with George Clooney will automatically make their name more distinctive and memorable.

6. Pay attention to the face:

The first reason we ever forget anything is that we fail to pay attention. The trick here is to encourage your eyes to do a Z-shaped movement across a person's face, encompassing both eyes, their nose and the two corners of their mouth. Look for a distinctive feature, and pay attention to that- it will be a landmark by which you'll come to recognise the person the next time round.

7. Use visual associations:

Recognising someone's name or face is most of the job of remembering who they are, but of course you have to link the two in your mind. If Francesca has an amusing nose, say to yourself 'Francesca, the girl with the amusing nose'.

8. Learn more about the person:  

When you first meet a person, you know nothing about them, so it can be difficult to find enough ideas to connect with their name and face to make those associations stick. So learn more about the person. By learning these extra details, the person will begin to occupy more space in your mind.

9. Test yourself:

Once you have learned a name, the best way to strengthen that memory is to make sure you actively recall it by reviewing and remembering it. So think back to the person you were introduced to ten minutes ago, and actively recall their name.

Conclusion: 

So, the next time you are beating yourself up for forgetting a name, don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. Learning and using people’s names correctly is a skill you can master. Just like any other skill, it takes some time, some patience and a little effort. The results you get in deeper relationships with clients, colleagues and employees will be worth it.

 
Pjay

PJAY SHRESTHA

Pjay is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping businesses grow. He is the recent winner of MR. Nepal Oceania and loves writing articles about Business Development, Marketing, and Productivity Hacks. 

 
 
 

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