For our December meeting, we had a presentation from the local head of Peak Performance, a sales training organization affiliated with the Sandler Training System, Rick Olszewski. The Professional Consultants Association of Central New York gets some very good presentations every year, but this one was over the top.
Basically, Rick gave us lessons on being in business, not necessarily marketing or sales. I believe that everyone in the room walked away with some valuable information that they can use. I certainly walked away with some major lessons I knew I needed to incorporate into my business, although I also walked away feeling pretty secure that some of these lessons I already knew. What were some of those lessons? Luckily, I took notes. Here’s what I came away with:
- Never defend, apologize or justify your price. Those who treat you as a professional will accept your price and your background. Those that don’t might not be serious about their business, and might not be your target market.
- No mind reading. You never know what someone else is thinking when it comes to your business or your price when you market to them, so don’t beat yourself up before you’ve even tried.
- Ask the client what their expectation is of what you can do for them. Sometimes what we know needs to occur and what the client thinks needs to occur don’t match up.
- If you find yourself negotiating with yourself, go higher. Most people start lowering their price when they’re trying to get business. You have to be willing to value your own services more by potentially raising your rates.
- Ask if the client has a budget first and then determine if you can work within that; get it out of the way early. Many of us go through the motions, think we have something lined up, only to discover once we tell the client the price that they can’t afford it.
- Without the cost of the pain & personal impact you can’t sell. Not your pain but helping your potential client find their pain so that they’re salivating to work with you rather than your having to work hard to get their business.
- You must always be willing to walk. Whether it a deal where you feel you’re wasting your time or a gig that’s giving you more trouble than it’s worth, you just might have to be the one to end things and move on to the next potential client.
- Never become emotionally involved in a negotiation. If you seem too eager potential clients will feel it and you might lose your edge, ergo affect your potential income.
- First concession must be the most difficult decision you make. Never reduce your price until you get to the point where you know it’s the only way you’re going to get the deal. Remember the line above about going higher on your price? This is why.
- If you have to make a concession look to the future to know where the final price may be. Look for something on the back end you may be able to give up.
- Always have a walk away price prepared. Don’t let anyone nickle and dime you down to the point where you’re going to either lose money on the deal or feel like you’ve been taken, because you won’t do the best work and you’ll resent both the client and yourself.
- 80% of all concessions are given up in the last 20% of the deal. Basically this means that since price is often the last thing you and your potential client will talk about, this is when the client might start to try to negotiate your price and you’re trying to save it. Hence, the recommendation to try to get price out of the way earlier.
- 90% of the time a potential client has already decided who they’re going to hire. In other words, don’t take rejection personal because it’s possible the deal’s already been done, in which case the decision has nothing to do with you. Once again, don’t take it personally.