Sales Should Not Be Negotiating Anything

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

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Why are you wasting valuable sales time?
 
Lots of talk lately in various forums about sales and negotiating.
 
I’ve grown plenty of high performing sales teams.
 
I’ve never spent a dime on training my sellers on negotiation.
 
That’s not their job.
 
Not to mention most sellers are horrible at it. (Though most think they are great at it.)
 
What many sellers consider to be negotiating is just a ritualized way to offer their buyer a discount (and degrade the profitability of a deal.)
 
When I hear sales reps tell me that they’re great negotiators what they are really saying is they’re good at splitting the difference.
Let sellers sell
I’m amused by CROs or VPs of Sales who are fervent advocates of specialized sales roles (BDRs, SDRs, AEs and AMs/CSMs) and then have their sellers negotiate their contracts.
 
Contract negotiation is a specialized skill.
 
There are contract professionals who are infinitely better at that job than sellers.
 
If you’re selling a product or service with any level of complexity, then hire one. Let them negotiate contracts. Let sellers sell.
 
Contracts people are aren’t emotionally invested in a deal like the sales rep, they better protect the interests of the company.
 
Experienced contracts professionals understand how to work with Procurement and Legal. My experience has overwhelmingly been that they help accelerate closing good deals.
I hated it. Until I couldn’t live without it.
I remember the first company where I worked with a contracts group.
 
I hated it. At first.
 
Like every other ego-centric seller, I hated the idea of relinquishing control over a contract negotiation to a person I considered to be nothing but a glorified bureaucrat.
 
Then I learned to love it.
 
It was a revenue accelerator. Working with a contracts specialist shortened the period of time between being selected as the winning vendor to delivering products/services.
 
It freed up my selling time. Both my sellers and I had more time available to focus on winning new business.
 
It preserved relationships. Negotiations are by definition adversarial. And sellers have too much at stake to expect them to dispassionately negotiate. Having Contracts specialists handle negotiations will preserve the collaborative and trusted relationship that you spent weeks or months developing with your buyer.
 
– Andy Paul