40 Negotiations 1 – Care but not that much

Negotiations 1 – Care but not that much

This week, we will feature a 5 part series on Negotiations.

When taking the lead in a sales cycle, you must be prepared to walk away from a bad deal. Let’s say you’ve advanced through a selection process and are getting close to finalizing the terms of a large contract. Your selling team has invested significant time and effort through a rigorous evaluation that was mandated by your prospective customer.

But during negotiations with the customer you started to feel that this might not be a good deal. While it can be painful, walking away from a bad deal can be preferable to winning.

What harm can a bad deal potentially do?
It could set a price discount level that will shred your profit potential in future deals.
It could jeopardize your team’s ability to service your customer.
It could cause your customer to lose respect for your company, which could tarnish your reputation.
Negotiations can be tenuous, and if sticky situations create animosity, your relationship could suffer severe permanent harm. The trust you built during pre-sale efforts can evaporate during the post-sale engagement. A damaged relationship can kill future opportunities with your customer.

After completing negotiations, if you feel bitterness toward your customer, you must correct the situation before it gets out of hand. You need to have a frank conversation with your sponsors to recharge your relationship.

Here are two simple rules to consider about negotiations:

You give some. They give some. It’s a win-win. This is negotiating in its simplest form.

You should care, but not that much. When you are too invested in pushing for a completion to the negotiations, you risk showing weakness. Being too anxious puts you in a stressful situation where you might be willing to give in to every demand. You must avoid this mindset.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com

39 Ask for the NO

Ask for the NO

Ask for the “NO!”

Probing the customer for negative feedback seems counter-intuitive, but a key part of opportunity qualification is to find out if your prospective customer will verbalize that they do not want to begin or continue working with you. Rather than blindly proceeding down a path that may lead to nowhere (no deal), ask for the “NO” throughout.

Salespeople are trained to ask—to ask for executive access; to ask for agreement to proceed with specific actions; to ask how things can be moved forward; to ask for the order. This means they should also be able to ask for the “NO” as well. To ask for the “NO” is a way to flip the conversation so you can get answers to key questions that will help you judge whether you are engaging with a good prospective customer or whether you should move on to better and more lucrative deals.

Here are examples of appropriate ways you can ask your customer for the “NO”:

If you are shown that the benefits we discussed are achievable, what are your thoughts on working with us to initiate a project where you can begin realizing these benefits in three months?

How do you envision completing evaluation of candidates, selecting one, and entering into a contractual arrangement with the selected supplier by the end of this year?

As part of our customer success process, we use an Action Roadmap that helps us jointly advance through the major evaluation and contractual steps. We are asking for you to commit to work with our team jointly to create and maintain this roadmap. Will that work for you?

It is important for us to engage with your executives who will sponsor the project so we can begin to forge a great business relationship. How can our team gain an introduction to them?

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com

38 Bad News Early - Part 2

Bad News Early – Part 2

The principle of getting bad news early is better than bad news late was discussed in the prior briefing.

An example is given in the scenario that follows.
Beth was excellent at networking with business professionals, connecting the dots to open new doors and creating new customer opportunities. She excelled at getting appointments for initial meetings with prospective customers. She leveraged her outgoing personality, powers of persuasion, and sheer persistence to enlist the top performers in her selling team to work on her deals. She exceeded expectations in her ability to identify new sales opportunities.

However, her skills did not carry forward throughout the sales cycle. Once initially engaged with a customer, she did not ask the difficult questions that would help qualify the customer’s intent or confirm their ability to authorize expenditures. Yet, she hung on to these unqualified opportunities way too long.

On average, Beth ended up winning two deals out of ten she pursued. Too often, these deals appeared to advance but at the end she was informed that her team had lost. Not only was she wasting her time, she was burning the valuable resources of her selling team.

Getting bad news early more often would have helped Beth understand that being consumed with time-wasting activities is not productive. Over time, she learned how to better qualify opportunities. She received bad news early more often, and because of that, Beth won more deals.

In a situation like Beth’s, a much better approach would be to disqualify a prospective customer early by performing better qualification. Gain access to customer executives who will eventually make the final decision or authorize funding for the project. Develop a sponsor who can coach you through the maze within your customer’s organization. If none of this is possible, walk away, then go find better opportunities that you can win.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com

37 Bad News Early is Better Than Bad News Late

Bad News Early is Better Than Bad News Late

It is important to qualify sales opportunities throughout engagement with your customer. Identifying the right sales opportunities frees up time and resources so that instead of wasting time on sales cycles where the customer’s eventual answer will be “NO!” you can focus on customers, opportunities, and strategies that will result in winning a higher percentage of deals.

Good qualification allows you to avoid investing significant time on opportunities that are hanging by a thread.

You know those situations:
– You rack your brain trying to figure out how you can move your opportunity forward, but your prospective customer is not really engaged and seems to be uninterested in solving real business issues.

– Your customer isn’t placing a high priority on your project because they are distracted with other, seemingly more urgent projects… I mean, what could possibly be more important than your project, right?

But why drag things out? Wouldn’t it be better to learn sooner than later that the deal isn’t going to happen? When you can’t seem to advance an opportunity, keep the following in mind:

Bad news early is better than bad news late.

Let’s say you are pursuing a deal that has involved several detailed steps. Your effort has consumed valuable sales resources only to find that the customer has selected your competitor’s solution.

Losing a deal at the eleventh hour is an example of receiving bad news late. It is the worst-case scenario. You and your selling team have expended all the time and energy to win the deal, only you don’t get to claim victory. You have just wasted precious time and resources. There is no silver medal for finishing second, and you certainly are not rewarded with sales commissions. Second place is the absolute worst place to finish in a selling competition.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com

36 Self-motivated



Chuck Noll, champion football coach for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, said this:


“It’s not my job to hold your hand. It’s my job to take motivated people and show them how to become better.”


Elite sales performers do not need to depend on others to inspire them. No one can say or do anything that will motivate them more than they already motivate themselves. Their drive to excel is innate in their being and provides all the encouragement they need.


  • Self-motivation means being driven—having a high level of energy with a mindset that all you have to give is everything you’ve got.


  • Self-motivation means being single-minded in your efforts to achieve the end goal—having a clear focus to overcome challenges and avoid distractions that could derail your progress.


  • Self-motivation means embracing self-assessment to understand that you always have room for improvement—realizing what you have to do to get better and not accepting mediocrity in any situation.


Don’t rely on others to motivate you. Don’t rely on threats, or fear of failure, or worry about current difficulties for motivation. The great ones in all walks of life have that inner burning desire to excel because they are self-motivated. 


I have found that the best tools for self-motivation are daily reminders to think positive, be optimistic, and embrace the belief that no matter what, I will put forward the effort to overcome whatever challenges are in my way. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com