Mobile Defense Plan
When a salesperson believes the buyer has the money, and thus all the leverage, negotiating a deal feels insurmountable. This belief causes mistakes to happen, as the seller starts offering concessions in order to get a deal. Any deal.
Instead of turning into a wimpy seller, learn to deploy the Mobile Defense Plan for sales negotiations.
This four-step plan is designed to provide maximum situational fluency, and to play effectively under intense pressure. It is the art of yielding ground gracefully and profitably, only giving concessions if and when there is no other choice.
First Line of Defense: A Polite, No-drip Response
A natural concern for average buyers is that they want to be treated fairly. They test the price. They push back on the seller’s price as soon as it’s put on the table.
In response, the seller might simply say:
“I know you deal with software companies and the typical game is to mark it up then mark it down. We’re more like CarMax. We just don’t do different prices for different customers. Our clients who buy the same thing pay the same price.”
“I understand budget constraints. We all have them. It sounds like we need to back down to a smaller and more targeted solution. Is that what you’re thinking?”
Once buyers have tested the price, they are often satisfied. One squeeze. No drip. Finish. At this point, it’s as if they have a script, because so many say, “Well, I had to try.”
Once you craft a great no-drip response, use it often.
Second Line of Defense: Show a Willingness to Walk Away
If a seller has to retreat to the second line of defense, he is likely up against a trained buyer. Savvy buyers have been taught that until the seller unequivocally says no, they haven’t got the best deal they can. So they use the old standby:
“Company X’s price is lower!”
The buyer is expecting the seller to flinch and offer to match the lower price. This is a natural reaction for many sellers, and it will go against your instincts to say something else. But if the seller were to respond by saying:
“Thanks for doing me the courtesy of letting me know you’re going with another option. I know that’s a difficult thing to have to tell someone.”
This will feel wrong for most sellers, but you’ll be surprised at the results. Often buyers are intrigued and will probably like and respect the immovable seller.
So, when Larry Limbo asks a seller how low he can go, the seller really ought to demur. The correct response to a request for a discount is “No.” Twice. Politely the first time, then very firmly.
Third Line of Defense: Concede a Point Other Than Price and Get Something of Equal or Greater Value in Return
If the buyer is still squeezing at this point, she really wants something out of the deal. The concession a seller gives should be genuine, but nominal and never monetary.
It’s really just intended to help the buyer save face.
A reasonable concession might sound something like this:
“We can’t give any ground on the fee, but since prices are trending up, we could lock you in at the current rate for a three-year period.”
Fourth Line of Defense: Drop the Price by a Small Increment, but Get Something of Equal or Greater Value in Return
Having stood their ground for as long as possible, the seller may now yield some concessions to get the deal done. But not willy-nilly. There are four simple rules for yielding concessions.
For example, a salesperson might yield a five percent discount in return for a referral and meeting in another division at a senior level. This tends to grow the seller’s account as opposed to cannibalizing it.
I cannot exaggerate the simple truth that once I started using this methodology, most of my deals began closing right on the spot. My clients report the same thing.
A software company once told me that they’d recovered the cost of my sales program with one deal, one week after the program. This may sound like an extraordinary result, but I can’t over-emphasize the effectiveness of closing the drip. Many negotiations can be nipped in the bud and a lot of money can be saved by avoiding a negotiation.
If you, or your team, could use some help tightening up sales negotiations, contact me today at 703.966.0192 to discuss your options.