Don’t be a wimpy seller

Where do sales stop?

How do you respond when a buyer puts pressure on you? As a salesperson, it is important to realize your response can impact the outcome of the sale. Most salespeople fall along what I call The Response Spectrum.

The Response Spectrum

Have you ever been a wimp?

When the buyer asks for concessions and you give them up immediately without a fight, you may actually be a wimpy salesperson.

When buyers ask for a discount, wimps often respond by saying, “Where do we need to be to earn your business?” If you’ve given this wimpy response, don’t feel bad. Virtually all salespeople have panicked and made some comment about the buyer qualifying for some discounts.

Wimpy sellers often think that a buyer asking for concessions is a buying sign and they’ll build the relationship by giving in. In reality, responding in a wimpy manner is one of the worst things you can do as a negotiator.

In the buyer’s eyes, this type of response both undercuts a seller’s credibility and devalues the product. The buyer will end up treating the seller like a wet rag, twisting and squeezing to get every last drop out.

Long story short: a wimpy response from a salesperson will result in a bad deal. And if the buyer is going to be a repeat customer, this bad deal will serve as the baseline for all future deals, which will cannibalize the lifetime value of the relationship.

Domination doesn’t help

On the other end of The Response Spectrum, is a dominating salesperson; someone likely to give the buyer an ultimatum: “This is the deal, take it or leave it.”

This approach will result in one of two outcomes:

  1. The buyer may decide to leave the deal because they’re not getting a good feeling from their interaction with the seller.
  2. The buyer might actually take the deal, which seems like a good thing but only on the surface.

If the buyer accepts the deal, it’s most likely despite the seller’s dominating approach and not because of it. The buyer will probably feel that they’ve gotten the short end of the deal, and this feeling will stick in the buyer’s craw.

In this situation, it’s unlikely the buyer will be interested in recommending or doing future business with the seller.

Aim for the middle of the spectrum

It’s very natural and human to fall towards one of the extreme ends of the spectrum, but as you can see neither extreme results in a good deal. The sweet spot is in the middle where effective negotiators thrive.

If you find yourself being either wimpy or domineering, try to take a more effective approach by being:

  • Accommodating
  • Collaborative
  • Assertive
  • Tough

Interested in expanding your negotiation skills? Take a look through my book, Negotiating With The Savvy Software Buyer.