HELP! I need to get better at negotiation!

HELP! I need to get better at negotiation!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

HELP! Ineed to get better at negotiation!

Eh, no Sparky,you need to get better at everything else so that you NEVER have tonegotiate — or at least negotiate 90% less.

Negotiation is forpeople who are lousy at selling, don’t understand buying motives,haven’t provided value, are unable to differentiate themselves fromthe competition, can’t build trust, and have utterly failed atbuilding relationships.

Maybe that’s why youhave to “negotiate.”

Negotiation is not aproblem. It’s a symptom.

And negotiate isonly one of three words that make up your reality, and the realdefinition. The other two words are: your price. Negotiationsare all about “concessions” and back and forth bickering aboutwhat you provide and how much it will cost. Negotiation “experts”call it give-and-take or win-win. That’s a bunch of crap. It’slower your price, and sacrifice your profit.

I’m in the airplaneas many as 20 times a month. In every airline magazine, there’s atwo-page pullout ad for “effective negotiation.” It’s been inthe magazines for years. It must work. I mean they must besuccessful in selling the course.

Their latest adcampaign states in bold headlines, “It’s like steroids for yourcareer!” Uh, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’tsteroids illegal? Hey, you too can gain an unfair advantage! All youhave to do is break the law. Sounds great — where do I sign up?

In the case ofnegotiation, it’s a violation of the law of fair play,manipulation, ethics, and relationship.

Reason you have to”negotiate?” You were calling on the wrong person or people inthe first place.

REALITY: People in theC-suite don’t negotiate. They discuss, discern, and decide. Andthey do it based on perceived value and trust, not price.

REALITY: Here’s whyyou have to negotiate:
You failed to provevalue beyond your competition.
You failed toprove you were different from others selling the same product.
You failed togain enough trust to get a decision.
You didn’twin on the lowest price, and they called you in to “match the priceof the lowest vendor” and potentially win the business.
You won thebusiness at a low level, and were sent to procurement.

All upside downpropositions (and you are at the bottom).

And, once you’re “innegotiations to get the business,” you’re relegated tomanipulating and groveling to get the business — at a lower price,and less (or no) profit. Great move. And you call that making thesale. I call it a pyrrhic victory.

The whole concept ofnegotiation seems like a win-lose proposition. They win. You lose.

And to make mattersworse, at the end of a “successful” negotiation, you halfway hatethe people you were negotiating with — especially if they were inpurchasing or procurement with some big company. People who want tosuck your blood, and then call you a partner, or worse, a valuedprofit partner.

If you want to knowif it’s likely that you will have to negotiate in order to win thedeal or the sale, answer these questions:
How high up in theorganization is the person you’re dealing are you?
What is your valueproposition?
Do you know how thecustomer profits as a result of buying your product?
What is the customer’surgency to buy?
How are you perceived?
Do you have theirtrust?
How strong is yourrelationship?
What is your reputationin the marketplace?

MAJOR CLUE: CEOs tellprocurement departments what to do. With one phone call, they caneliminate all negotiations and create a purchase order, from a nowfriendly, or even accommodating, purchasing agent.

In my opinion,negotiation is nothing more than someone else trying to get in yourwallet and lower your price.

In my opinion, ifyou’re negotiating, it’s because you started too low on the salesfood chain (because it was easier entry), and you’re now faced witha price war.

Departments like plantmaintenance, IT, HR, office admin, and other low level (yes lowlevel) branches of a business have budgets that they spend. Maybe youshould be talking to the people that MAKE the budgets for greatersuccess.

And just so we’reclear, I’m not saying, “don’t take the negotiation course.”Any knowledge on how to win, and how to deal with customers couldprove to be valuable. I AM saying if you have to use negotiationto win a sale, it’s likely you have given up your profit along theway. Not good.

If you want more ideasabout negotiation strategies, and why there’s a better way, go, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enterthe word NEGOTIATE in the GitBit box.