This article will discuss a few key ways you can identify and eliminate the hidden weakness in your sales without causing yourself other problems.
As a salesperson, you cannot afford to be weak in your dealings with a prospect. Not only does it reflect poorly on your product and your company–meaning a chance of the sale falling through–it gives the prospect too much control over the negotiations from that point forward. Weakness presents in a number of ways in sales negotiations, some not as obvious as others, and not everything that looks like weakness is. For that reason, this article will discuss a few key ways you can identify and eliminate the hidden weakness in your sales without causing yourself other problems.
This might be a universal truth of sales–the more you know about the prospect, the less trouble you’ll have making the sale. There are few problems in sales that more information won’t help with, and showing weakness is not one of those problems. By understanding your prospect in advance, you know where to expect pushes and how to push back in negotiations. If you’re uninformed, you leave yourself open to a variety of tactics.
The only thing worse than showing weakness in sales is not knowing what those weaknesses are. Unidentified weaknesses are at best an ambush waiting to happen, at worst something that will be killing your sales for months without you ever understanding what’s happening.
Weaknesses come in all forms. For example, if your product lacks a certain feature a competitor offers, not knowing that can quite easily lose you sales. The more you understand your weaknesses, the better you can allay them–to continue the previous example, a thorough understanding of a weakness in your product may give you insight into ways a client might work around it, eliminating it as a weakness entirely.
Bluster or panic in response to aggressive negotiation or a tough question may feel strong but it looks pathetic. Losing your cool puts you in a very weak position–either a prospect will be put off by the reaction and hesitant to deal with you further, or they’ll see it as the weakness it is and exploit it in further dealings.
Don’t lose your temper, ever. Know how to gracefully disengage from ‘gotcha’ questions and similar entanglements without tripping over your tongue. Knowing your weaknesses and your prospect will make this much easier to pull off.
An uncommitted prospect has far too much power in negotiations. You’re in a position of weakness until you get something, anything, from the prospect. A savvy prospect will know this.
What you receive need not be financial commitment. Any expenditure of time or resources for the sake of the process counts. That means getting a prospect to fill out paperwork and send it to you, or clear time on their schedule for a follow up call, puts you in a far stronger position than ending a call on a vague promise to ‘get back in touch’.
Once you reach that point in the sales process, your prospect will invest more attention.
Control of the sales process matters more than the perception of control of the sales process. In fact, if you can offer the illusion that you’ve given over control to the prospect without losing control of anything important, that’s perhaps the greatest position you can be in. That means intimate knowledge of your process and experimentation. Once you know what you can lose control of without ruining sales, and what you absolutely must remain firm on to close successfully, you can easily give and take as you like.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.