Negotiation: Selling a Price Increase in a Soft Market

By Mark Hunter

Selling a price increase can be difficult in nearly any type of situation, but trying to sell one in a soft market can be downright brutal. Yet, as unpleasant as it can be, it is often essential. The problem of selling a price increase in a soft market usually stems from the fact that the salesperson and the customer are coming at the situation from different perspectives. Especially in times like this, it is imperative for the salesperson to understand that regardless of what the market or economy is doing, if a price increase needs to be sold, it needs to be sold. This means that the salesperson can’t go into the sales process believing that the customer is going to reject the price increase unless the deal can be saved by offering some type of discount. If they approach the meeting with this attitude, they almost guarantee failure because a customer will never pay more than a salesperson tells them to. Read Entire Article Here.

How To Be A Positive Sales Person

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr Wayne Dyer

Post written by Jeremy J. Ulmer.

It is easy to get down on yourself in the world of sales if you have had a bad month, quarter, or even a down year. But if you hold onto those negative thoughts about your sales performance, it will not help you to achieve your sales goals.

As simplistic as this may sound, if you are a negative person, sales will always feel like a struggle. As a positive person, sales becomes much more enjoyable and can be very fulfilling. You will also produce far greater results with a positive mind-set in sales.

Being a positive person has been a significant part of my own success and below are some of the key practices I have followed to be a positive person in the world of sales:

  • Believe that anything is possible and that you can form a partnership with any company in the world.
  • Be aware of your inner critic. That voice that says, “You can’t call that CEO.” Notice the limiting thought, and then decide on the right action to take.
  • Be thankful for the strengths and gifts you already possess.
  • Smile more and laugh more.
  • Exercise and eat healthy.
  • Clarify your values and honor them.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Look at mistakes as learning lessons.
  • Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people.
  • Be grateful for the opportunities you have, not what you don’t have.
  • Ignore all people who say, “You can’t do that.”

7 Sales Skills to Improve On

The following 7 sales skills are what Shamus Brown has found to be the most important sales skills for professional salespeople. Get good at these, and you’ll be able to make a lot of money no matter how the economy is doing.

Sales Skill #1: Qualifying Fast to Avoid Wasting Sales Time
Sales Skill #2: Motivating Prospects
Sales Skill #3: Selling to People Outside Your Comfort Zone
Sales Skill #4: Reaching Decision-Makers Through Voicemail
Sales Skill #5: Delivering “I Gotta Have That” Presentations
Sales Skill #6: Gaining Commitments Instead of Closing
Sales Skill #7: Have More Fun

The Truth About How To Have A Winning Sales Personality – The Brooks Group

Do you ever wonder why one prospect is practically “eating out of your hands” while another can’t seem to wait for you to leave? This article will reveal why you shouldn’t treat all prospects the same and expose “The Truth About How to Have a Winning Sales Personality.”

There is one simple, but often overlooked, personality characteristic that is vital for sales success. This one thing, however, is perhaps one of the most elusive qualities for salespeople to master.

Most salespeople don’t actively work to develop this capacity and many are completely unaware of just how vital this personality trait is. That’s because they have been brainwashed to believe a myth that has been making its way around the world of selling for about as many years as there have been professional salespeople.

The myth is that there is such a thing as a winning sales personality – and only someone with that personality can be successful at selling. Salespeople have often been led to believe that if they can just be outgoing, friendly, persuasive and even glib, that they will automatically enjoy success in selling.

Fortunately, it’s just that – a myth.

Lots of organizations perpetuate this myth by hiring only people who fit this stereotype for sales positions. However, our extensive research with thousands of salespeople reveals that personality type really has very little to do with sales success.

In some cases, the “right” personality according to the myth is the absolute “wrong” personality in certain situations. In fact, it is possible that personality mismatches often lead to more lost sales than anything else. (We’ll explain this in more detail a little later).

Our research indicated that successful salespeople weren’t necessarily the extroverted and persuasive “sales type.” But they all did have one all important quality in common.

So what is the one essential personality characteristic that is vital for sales success?

It’s flexibility:

It’s the capacity to adjust your personality to match the demands of the particular situation in which you find yourself.
To empower yourself to blend your personality to be in total coordination with the pace, tone and speed of your prospect.
It is not forcing your “dynamic personality” onto a prospect who is cool, distant or removed.
It is not talking your head off constantly to a prospect that tends to be quiet and reserved.
It is not being distant and cool with a prospect who is warm, engaging and interested in dealing with you in a very personal way.
What many salespeople fail to understand is that there is a vast difference between being flexible and being “fake.”

It’s not a matter of putting on a fake personality – it’s simply a matter of letting your prospect set the tone for the meeting.

Let’s look at it from another angle. Think about how you dress for a sales call. Most salespeople would agree that it’s important to look as professional as possible. But, the best bet is to also make sure that you blend in with the way your prospect and other people at that organization normally dress. In other words, no matter what “the real you” likes to wear on other occasions, and no matter what kind of dress code your organization observes, when you meet with a prospect, you take your dress cues from the prospect.

In the same way, you should take your cues on how to behave from the prospect. They’re inviting you into their environment to see if you can be of service to them. No matter how “the real you” behaves in other situations, in this situation it’s in your best interest to let the prospect dictate how the two of you will interact.

Of course you’d make a terrible impression if you dared to show up in an executive’s office in jeans and flip-flops. But many salespeople aren’t aware that their behavior can have the same effect on a prospect if it doesn’t match the way the prospect likes to interact with salespeople or the way the prospect likes to buy.

For example, many salespeople believe that the best way to develop rapport and make a good first impression is to be very enthusiastic and friendly. That usually works well if they’re meeting with someone who likes to interact that way.

But the exact same behavior makes a very different impression on a prospect who likes to be more formal and deliberate in dealing with salespeople. They might instantly start to feel uncomfortable because to them it seems like the salesperson is talking too loud or too much or standing too close…

Just about every salesperson has had this experience…you meet with one prospect that just can’t seem to get enough of you, you say and do all the right things and they can’t wait to schedule another meeting with you to get the sale rolling. Then you meet with your next prospect and you say and do the exact same things and somehow the whole meeting seems to fall flat.

There could be many explanations, but assuming you’ve qualified them both beforehand, there’s a very good chance those two prospects simply like to buy differently. You approached one in the way that they liked to buy. You approached the other the exact same way, but that’s not how they wanted to interact with you.

This is where your ability to be flexible can really pay off. You have to realize that it’s your prospect’s meeting – you’re a guest on their turf. If you want them to be receptive of you, you should look to them to figure out how to conduct yourself once you’re there.

Let’s take a look at how you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Here are 5 tips to help you immediately:

  1. Approach every prospect in a way that allows you to adjust to their style, speed and demeanor. Don’t force them to adjust to you.
  2. Do as much advance groundwork as possible to learn the fundamental personality style of your prospect before you ever get in front of them.
  3. Even when you suspect that you know your prospect’s basic style, approach them in a neutral way until they exhibit that fundamental style. Then adjust to them. Don’t assume that your pre-call work is correct or that they are comfortable enough to display their “real” personality to you early in the sales relationship.
  4. Constantly look for clues that will characterize the most essential characteristics that your prospect is looking for in you in terms of:
  •  Formality versus informality
  •  Results versus process
  •  High energy versus lower energy
  •  A positive/optimistic outlook versus a negative/cautious outlook

5.  Consistently do your best to match the characteristic that best reflects the behavior that your prospect displays. The reason for that is quite simple. People look for those characteristics in others that they, themselves, see as strengths that they possess and admire.
It’s really a matter of using your insight and understanding of others to do a better job of building trust and rapport from the outset. If you can sharpen your intuitive people reading skills to ensure that your prospect feels comfortable, confident, trusting and positive they’ll be far more receptive to what you have to say…AND you’ll have a much greater chance of pro-ceeding with that prospect to the next phase of the sale.

CEO Sales Call Train Wrecks

Carl Moe explains that with all of our electronic communication tools available today, sales people can literally prospect the universe and close business with clients they may never meet face-to-face.  However, there are still business relationships in B2B sales where the value of your product or service is such that having face-to-face executive level connections between the two organizations can increase the alignment as well as create a competitor barrier.  CEO level connections can be extremely productive for both companies and are well worth the effort.

Building these connections does not come without risk for the Chief Revenue Officer.  He has observed CEO’s without any sales background or experience have some success in building executive relationships with current clients.  Unfortunately, some CEO’s then decide they are ready to join the sales team and go “slay dragons” (i.e. attack the market and close new business).  This epiphany occurs most frequently when overall business performance is below expectations.

The good news is you now have a CEO ready to engage in the challenges of working with the primary independent variable of every business – the prospect.  The bad news is these well-intended CEO’s have little or no sales background regarding the differences between existing client relationship events and new business prospecting calls.

Part II MANAGING TO GOAL Building a Best-in-Class Organization for Solution and Value Added Providers

Howard Highsmith, CMC is the Founder of B2B Institute.  A Certified Management Consultant; Howard helps organizations operating in complex sales environments achieve their revenue goals.

Note:  This post is the second in a three-part series about three principles that areimperatives to organizations’ becoming Best-in-Class.  The first post was Organizational Excellence and the critical role that business acumen plays through individual sales initiatives and accountability leading to goal attainment.
Governance, published in February will be the last in this seriesabouta time-driven process for proving the model and being held accountable for results.

PROFIT FROM SALES has been…is now…and always will be…the critical successfactor for a business, regardless of size.  This imperative is absolute whether you own a company or sell for a company.

Authors note:  goal attainment is a very important subject on many levels.  Please see the end of this post to receive a freeeBrief entitled: Doing Business On Demand.

This post focuses on the big picture issues that impact Managing To Goal, a discipline developedby B2B Institute forfrontline sales professionals as it relates to achieving personal goals and earnings and revenue goal attainment on the part of a corporation.  A new buzzword for the managing to goal discipline is shared goalsreplace the word ‘quota’.This single change in thinking puts pressure on individuals to invest time to learn and improve their business acumen and skills as sales professionals.  The benefits to the individual and their organizations are huge!Outside of obvious earnings and revenue generated, individuals and organizations that consistently attain their revenue goals will also discover the illusive secret to success; gaining ADVANTAGEin a marketplace.

Let’s set the scene — since 2003 we have been operating in a business environment or ‘Era’ thathas been called by most industry pundits,the ‘New Normal’.  During this period much fanfare hasbeen given by pundits that the New Normal Era was a great environment in which to do business.  Much of the fanfare wastrue.  So, before we move on, the following question must be asked:

“Since the economic crisis that started in mid-late 2007, EXACTLY what has been normal relative to the economy and business and sales practices?”

Today the reality is this… we are operating in a significantly more aggressive era called ‘On Demand’.  It is also important to recognize that much of the impact of this new era have been significantly clouded by the economic crisis that continues to plague business.When this era is fully realized,it will have served to effectively changed the way business is done by B2B organizations using a solution or value add sales approachin complex sales environments.In an On Demand Era business environment, advantageis a clear differentiator between best-in-class, industry average and laggard organizations.  �
Here is important information about performance issues that impact revenue generation and goal attainment.  According to Stephen R. Covey of FranklinCovey Company and their work with thousands of organizations:
1. People and teams don’t know the goals.  Either there are too many goals or the goals aren’t clear.
2. People and teams don’t know what to do to achieve the goals.  The goals are not translated into day-to-day activities.
3. People and teams don’t keep score.  Few can tell at any moment if they are on track to achieve the organization’s critical goals.
4. People and teams are not held accountable.  For results, employees need relevant and timely feedback and regular accountability.
Source: FranklinCovey Company – Salt Lake City, Utah
The 4 Disciplines of Execution®

An obvious question to ask here is… how do you stand regarding these four statements?ManagingTo Goal addresses all four of the performance issues stated by Covey.
Marketplace Consolidation
Here’s why you should pay close attention – A marketplaceconsolidation has been quietly occurring for the past several years as we are moving from the ‘New Normal’ to ‘On Demand.’In brief; the outcome of this marketplace consolidation is a direct result of increased expectation by clients and customers who are demanding ‘Excellence’ or ‘Best-in-Class’ at all levels from their providers.  This expectation will significantly impact the revenue generation efforts of all three classes of organizations; ‘Best in Class’, ‘Industry Average’ and ‘Laggards.’�
Contributing reasons for consolidation are:

  • The use of technology and wide product/service distribution has leveled the playing field resulting in significantly increased competition.
  • Increased competition has also clouded the decision process.
    We are operating in an expanding global marketplace.
  • Poorly devised/executed marketing and sales strategies.
  • Increasing pressures on gross margins and pre-tax profits.
  • Answers to Covey’s findings demonstrate clear differences between Best-in-Class and Industry Average and Laggard organizations.
  • Difficulties in recruiting and retaining top frontline sales professionals.
  • Wide distribution of intellectual property (IP) through a directsales
    organization and/or a channel/network of authorized resellers.
  • The commoditization of both products and services at virtually
    every sophistication level in an effort by buyers to move price near
    the top of a requirements list for creating a short list or making final
    vendor selections.
    And, more…

In all my years of experience working with and for sales organizations the single, critical factor that obstructs goal attainment is not having enough qualified sales opportunities in the pipeline.  In this context it is vital that you determine what your pipeline ratio is.  This ratio serves as a benchmark for predicting near term revenue.  A pipeline ratio compares the total revenue value of allqualified sales opportunitiesin the pipeline divided by the monthly revenue goal.  Many think this ratio only has to be 2-3 times greater than the monthly goal.  The concept behind this thinking is you typically ‘close’ one out of every two (or three) deals.  Based on my experience, this math (ratio) simply doesn’t work.  If you were in a business to consumer (B2C) marketplace, a 2-3:1 ratio ‘might’ work.  In a business to business (B2B) marketplace, the ratio will be considerably higher.  Why?  Request and read my eBrief on Doing Business On Demand.

Lastly, I believe the endgame for both individuals and organizations is this business environment is establishing a ‘Best-in-Class’ status.  Among other things; best-in-class embodies goal attainment as one of its operating tenets and will serve individuals and corporations well in an On Demand Era environment.  Anything less will come with a price that most don’t want to pay.
Good Luck and Good Selling.

Howard Highsmith, CMC
B2B Institute

P.S. Send your v-card to me ( and I will send you an eBrief entitled: Doing Business On Demand that covers Managing To goal and more in greater detail.  The value of this eBrief is $129 and is provided at nocostorobligation.  Note:  all v-card information must be complete to qualify.


Ok, you have regained control of pipeline management and working to improve the accuracy of your forecast reporting about near term revenue.  Governance is a six month program to ensure the transition from no or poor management of the process to quality reporting results in a model for sustained goal attainment.