The Next One that Talks Loses!

None of us want to admit that we have  been out-negotiated!  But it happens often.  We know that you need the sale, but this very important post will discuss an important tactic, and reduce the chances that you get the wrong end of the deal.  You are your company’s negotiator, and your reputation is at stake.  Be prepared!


Your prospective customer calls you to meet in order to discuss your product and whether your organizations can do business.  She sounds excited and you sense that this might be the precursor to a good sale.

After you arrive, after some warm-up, you get to the gist of the negotiations.  She wants better payment terms and this is a big issue.  You have been instructed that your organization is ‘losing’ on payment terms, obviously not collecting soon enough, and you know your bounds.

The negotiations go like this:

Customer: “This could be a deal breaker.”

You: “We can offer four (6) equal monthly payments with a 25% deposit.”

Customer: “We would like twelve (8) equal monthly payments with a 10% deposit.” She continues, “If we don’t get that, we may have to consider remaining with our current vendor.”

You: “I think we can get some movement here.  I spoke to my people, and we can reduce our deposit to 15%, but our installments will remain at 6 equal.”

Customer: (Twists her face and does not respond)

You: “We are a good fit for you.  I will see if there is any way that we can move to the longer term.”  After a moment on the cell phone, you respond, “We have a deal! 15% deposit and 8 equal payments.”

You shake hands and head off into the sunset.  You should not be smiling, as you were thoroughly out-negotiated!


One of the roles of a sales professional is that of negotiator.  It is not a role that you occupy all of the time, but one of tasks that must be done is to finalize, which includes pricing and terms.

Negotiating is a good thing as normally if there are negotiations, there is some acceptance of the product and the relationship.  The problem is most often when a customer goes silent, many in sales give up their bargaining range to get them to talk!  That is what happened in this situation.

Silence is Golden – For the Silent One!

We can learn something from this customer that is priceless:

Most sales professionals are uncomfortable with silence!

Those who are anxious to please, and needing a sale, often give up their negotiating room without ever getting a “no”.   They move to the customer’s position, or very close to it based on silence, or in this situation, silence and the customer’s expressions.

Now, as sales professionals like to talk, I stress that we need to pay respect to those who have learned that silence, by itself, crushes many sales negotiation strategies, and you don’t want it to happen to you.

The facial expression is an example of a ‘flinch’.  The flinch with, or without silence causes many sales professionals to begin to surrender their negotiation room.  A flinch can be a facial expression, upper body movement combined with a drastic facial expression, or even reaching for one’s chest or head ‘in amazement’.

Seemingly indicating that one is aghast (shocked and amazed) that the offer is so bad or lacking, has impact.  What it does is to move someone closer to giving up his or her margin.  Don’t be out negotiated.

I know what you are thinking, “It’s not my money!”  Well it is your money!  Closing the deal with the best terms is what you were hired for.  Be ethical and effective in doing it and there will always be a job for you.  Also, think of what happens when you, the sales professional, give up everything that you have to offer, then have to deal with the client next year.  They will be expecting your ‘cave-in’ again, and you may not have any room to ‘cave’.

Silence by Any Other Name…

It goes without saying in this electronic age that silence has many faces:

  • Not responding to a voice mail
  • Not responding to emails or written correspondence

Here is a real life example:

I once had a position that required that I purchase personal computers for a training operation.  We needed 12 computers and I negotiated for them and was not excited with the price.  It was not that the price was high; it was that the resources were short, so I went to “beg” my funding sources for more resources to get the products.

I indicated that we needed to consummate the deal by Friday, and because of an illness in the family I had not responded by the proceeding Thursday.  On Thursday afternoon, my assistant handed me a message from the rep cutting the price significantly.   About the same time, I received a call indicating that we had the additional funds to make the purchase.

The sales representative reduced the price without me ever saying ‘No’!  I wonder if his boss knows?

A Good Suggestion

I think the best suggestion that I could give you is to take a good negotiation course.  All sales professionals should take a good negotiation course that also focuses on the ethical nature of negotiating.  There are many out there, and they are worth their weight in gold.  No different than the customer, you should be prepared to use silence as one of the tools in your tool box as well.

Your non-work life will benefit as well as there are few tasks that have as much value making sure you get the right deal.

We will cover some more negotiation techniques here in this journal, yet a course is the way to go.  You will thank me for the suggestion, as there is nothing that will make you more effective and efficient after you have done the heavy lifting like cleanly and clearly negotiating the terms.

Be effective and efficient.

Your comments are appreciated. Your comments are appreciated. You can reach me at

YOU and the Successful Salary Negotiation – Part 2, Give Me My Money!

Dollar Sign

I think you deserve to get paid!  Read this post, as well as the post at the bottom of the page to find out how.  Don’t get a new job and be regretful about the major reason that you are there….your money!


On the last edition of Black Sales Journal we discussed “knowing the landscape” as you prepare to negotiate your salary for a new job (that post is at the bottom of this page).  The objective was to have all of the homework done so that a target can be achieved, and there is likelihood of success.

In this edition of Black Sales Journal, we will spend a little time dealing with the actual negotiations themselves.  This includes receiving and responding to an offer(s).  This is far from a science, and is probably best classified as an art.  The art of how to get what you need in a dignified manner, while maintaining the deportment necessary to keep respect.

Remember, if you are sales professional, it is not unlikely that your prospective employer expects you to do some negotiation.  They won’t be offended by it, yet it should be done correctly.

The Golden Rule – The One With the Most Options has the Most Power!

Power is important in negotiations.  It does not need to be displayed; yet it defines the activities that either side employs.  Knowledge is important as well.  That is why we spent time last week on being firmly aware of “the landscape”.  You would feel totally different about your current or past salary numbers if you knew what all of your colleagues were being paid.  You might be satisfied, happy, or dismayed, but probably would feel totally different.

Options are important.  When I mention options, I speak of viable alternatives to an action.  If you have five job offers, and all are in the field you want and have robust salary offers, you have an amazing number of options. No matter what you ask for from any one of these potential employers, you can be steadfast in getting a good deal.  You have five viable options, and you have “the juice” (power).

However, if your prospective employer has 5 candidates, and although they are not identical (of course they could not be), they each are strong and would make solid sales professionals.  The prospective employer, in this case, has the power.  They have options and will use their “superior” position to their advantage.

There is nothing nefarious about any of this; it is the use of options resulting in the position of power in a negotiating relationship.

Power for the Black Sales Professional

This is a sensitive subject, yet relevant.  As a Black sales professional can you transform what has historically been to a disadvantage to an advantage?  Can you take advantage of the relatively low number of proven Black sales professionals in your quest for this next job?  The answer is solid “maybe.”

Most larger operations are looking for accomplished Black sales professionals.  The numbers are just not that large, and accomplished Black Sales professionals are still a small subset of all accomplished sales professionals.  You won’t know enough about the organization, or the candidates you compete against to be able to use any gambits to enhance your positioning.  I suggest that if you are the best candidate in the competition, and negotiate well, then you have done all you can do to get the job.

Remember, as I have mentioned in Black Sales Journal on several instances, you are being made an offer by an individual, not a corporation.  Realize the importance of that statement.  Someone (the hiring manager) will make the decision, with the guidance of Human Resources and company guidelines as to what the range is.  You are trying to get the most out of that salary range from the negotiating manager.

Some Useful Techniques

These are simple, and can be remembered.  Always try to negotiate salary by itself, apart from all other work benefits.  It may not be possible, yet it is advisable.   The natural progression of the process is as follows:

Step 1. Evaluate the offer

Step 2. Give a suitable response (note below)

Step 3. Deliver a counter offer or receive a counter offer

Step 4. Make a decision

Here are some things that remember.

  • Always remember what you stated as your salary expectation in your application process.  It can come back to haunt you.
  • Know the landscape before the application process.  Use the tools and your intuition before giving a salary expectation.
  • Give your salary expectation, as well as your discussions in the form of a range and use the term “…depending on the accompanying conditions and benefits.”  This allows you some flexibility.  Example: “I would expect between $60,000 and $75,000 depending on the nature of the bonus plan.”  The bonus plan represents a variable, and you don’t know enough about it, for the most part to be concrete.  This gives you the flexibility.
  • Know the number you want!  Use your tools and experience to have that number.  Have a solid idea, but stay flexible.
  • When the offer is made, always advise you will get back to them and mull it over.  This is an important decision.

As you evaluate the offer, and it comes up well short of your number, your response should be respectfully done.  I suggest: “I was hoping for a stronger salary number.” Or you could say, “This is a wonderful opportunity, yet the salary number is disappointing.” Now, here is where having options is important.  But, if you have no options, you should still say it.  If they don’t give up any of their negotiating room, you can still say, “I will take the job!”  Their answer would likely be either:

  • We will take a look at it.
  • This is the best we can do!
  • What are you thinking about? Be realistic in your expectation.

One way or another, their objective will be to keep salary parity with other sales professionals.  If they started low, estimating that you will “come back”, you will get their final offer.  If they won’t negotiate, and it is a good offer, then you should accept.

Negotiating the “Other” Things

These items are easier, and more palpable.  Know what you want and ask early.  Get them to thinking about your needs.  If you will lose a car from you other job, they should know coming in that you are expecting a company vehicle, or an allowance.  Human Resources can help you with some of these items early on.  Ask them about the transportation and the benefit issues, and ask the hiring manager about other important work issues.

Remember, if you don’t have agreement before you say “yes”, you will have little chance of getting it in the end.

Also remember, your salary is not as important as your total compensation package.  Believe in yourself!

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