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vrijdag 15 augustus 2014

3 Types of Negotiators

3 Types of Negotiators

Essentially there are 3 personality types in any negotiation, each with their own skills and style, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. How they interact can have a great impact on the negotiation outcomes, and a skilled negotiator will learn to recognize each style in his counterpart and use it to his advantage. But they do not exist exclusively and there is an element of each style in every one of us, recognizing that and controlling the triggers can be very influential in negotiations.

The Competitor

The first is possible the most easily recognized because he is the guy most people associate with negotiations. He is the hard ball player, who thrives on the cut and thrust, on the competition and who wants to win everything. This is the guy who will advocate stronger than he will empathize, he likes to be purposeful and in control, rarely patient he seeks out an ambitious position and fights to protect it, he wants the biggest slice of the pie. In a distributive argument he has some advantages but he is also the person most likely to produce a stalemate or escalate a dispute. He is less likely to worry about relationships and may cause damage to them if the other side resents his actions. He is the man who is most likely to get riled up and lose his temper. He may be the man you want on your side for tough distributive questions but he may be the man who breaks down the negotiation. In a dual party negotiation team he will be the bad cop, having recognized him many times in past negotiations, knowing which buttons to push can be useful. If the other side want to use a delay tactic then all they need to do is to wind up the competitor until he loses self-control, then is the time to call for a recess. He is not to be discounted though, when the tough decisions need to be made, he may be the guy to make them. If it is a once off deal, and you have expanded the pie to create all the extra value, he may be the guy for the divisional process.

The Accommodator

More likely to empathize than conflict, this negotiator puts serious emphasis on the relationship between the parties. They need to be liked and will often negotiate in a style that is easy on the participants to find a quick resolution that doesn’t damage the relationship. These guys are good listeners, and they tend to have better relationships. They may even be trusted more by the other party, so if you are looking for a negotiator for a long term or repeat business deal this may be the person you are looking for. Sometimes, though, they can get played, if a tough negotiator on the other side tries to hold the relationship hostage, or makes it part of the negotiation collateral then the accommodator may give in on some value issues, or some of the distributive issue. They may not create all the value possible because they may not engage in some of the tough stuff.

The Avoider

These guys think conflict is rarely advantageous or productive and will do their utmost to avoid it. They neither over empathize nor assert, instead they tend to disengage when conflict arises. They can appear distant and uninterested. So what are they doing negotiating? Well they can have significant strategic advantages; some of the conflicts can be just avoided. Some issues do just go away without being escalated. 
The avoider may carry more weight when they speak and are listened to. However like the competitor they tend to struggle with relationship building and they may leave money on the table because they don’t use the difference in conflict to its full advantage.
What happens when these negotiators meet?
First of all it is important to recognize that none of these traits are stand-alone people, they don’t exist exclusively and we each have some element of these three characteristics. How we recognize them in ourselves and in our counterparts is crucial, and recognizing the triggers that move us from one style to the next is just as important. Know what presses your buttons and sets you off in competitive mode, this is often just as simple as a personality clash, but you need to control it. Know that when you like someone you negotiate with, at work or in another company that you may be more inclined to accommodate than to test, and definitely know who you avoid issues with. This can often be the boss, if she is a strict, no nonsense type of boss, it can be very prevalent in a small working environment, and for us all it often involves family disputes and negotiations. 

Competitor Meets Competitor:

This makes for an exciting negotiation, like a strategic dance, with offer and counter offer flying back and forth, both sides trying to win. Really high energy stuff, unfortunately with nobody listening to the other side they tend to blow completely or they reach a stalemate. They need to trade control and be very careful how they share information and interests.

Competitor Meets Avoider:

There are usually two outcomes, the competitor becomes hugely frustrated and ends up making concessions to invite the avoider in, and so becomes exploited, or the avoider becomes completely alienated and doesn’t engage at all. The challenge for the competitor is to make the negotiation inviting enough for the avoider and for the avoider to become more comfortable with assertion.

Competitor Meets Accommodator:

A nightmare for the accommodator, where has the relationship gone? The competitor can often exploit the accommodator’s will to get results quickly by forcing concessions. The accommodator needs to improve assertiveness to match empathy before he gives in and misses opportunity to advocate his own cause.

Accommodator Meets Accommodator:

There will be resolution and usually quite quickly, but not all the value will be gleaned from the process and it might be better to sometime engage in the differences and use them to expand the pie.

Accommodator Meets Avoider:

It either goes nowhere fast, because the accommodator looks after the avoider’s issues and they just avoid the discussion. However a skillful accommodator will keep the temperament in the right zone and will coax the avoider into discussion.

Avoider Meets Avoider:

What conflict? We don’t see any conflict here. They just won’t face up to the issues at all, not a good plan in the long run.

Source: Medation Practice

donderdag 31 juli 2014

Selling Types

Selling types

The diverse nature of the buying situation means there are many types of selling job: selling
varies according to the nature of the selling task. The figure below shows that there is a fundamental distinction between order-takers, order-creators and order-getters. 
Order-takers respond to already committed customers; order-creators do not directly receive orders since they talk to specifiers rather than buyers; order-getters attempt to persuade customers to place an order directly.

selling types

There are three types of order-takers: inside order-takers, delivery salespeople and outside
order-takers. Order-creators are termed missionary salespeople. Finally, order-getters are
either front-line salespeople consisting of new business, organisational or consumer
salespeople, or sales support salespeople who can be either technical support salespeople or merchandisers. Both types of order-getters operate in situations where a direct sale can be made.

Christiaan Janssens
Executive Coach
CRO @ Spa Akwa Belgium

zondag 13 juli 2014

Customer complaints department

Christiaan Janssens
Executive Coach
CRO @ Spa Akwa Belgium

Making your customers successful

Making your customers successful 

If you want to build a growth company, you must be customer focused. And that means waking up every day and asking, 

“What can I do to make my customers successful?”

Your customer’s success is your success, so it is in your best interest to make your customer as successful as possible. That doesn’t mean giving away your products and services. It does mean enabling your customer to tap the full potential of what you’re selling and to assist your customer even when that assistance doesn’t directly boost sales.

Take the time to get to know their business, their vision, their strategies for growth, their target customers, and their pain points. Talk with them and share your ideas for helping them be more successful.
You may be called on to offer your customer some free advice, refer them to other companies for products and services you don’t sell, or even do a little head-hunting for them to steer them in the direction of the most qualified personnel in your area.

Become your own customer, as much as possible. Try to buy the same product or one that’s similar to what you sell from another salesperson to discover insights from your customer’s point of view. (You don’t actually have to buy it.)

As an entrepreneurial salesperson, always think one step ahead. This means considering your customer’s customer. The single most important contribution you can make to your customer’s success is contributing to the success of your customer’s customer.
In many cases, this is primarily the responsibility of your company’s CEO or product development division, but because you probably have more direct contact with customers, you may need to carry the message back to your company. If you’re selling to a business that sells your product to consumers, keep that consumer, the end user, in mind.

But above all: be fair, be honest, do what you say you’re going to do, and deliver on time and within budget. 

zondag 23 februari 2014


Earn trust, then you can worry about the rest.

Insight Selling

Insight Selling

Customers are increasingly circumventing salespeople. They’re using publicly available information to diagnose their own needs and turning to sophisticated procurement departments and third-party purchasing consultants to help them extract the best possible deals from suppliers. The trend will only accelerate. For sales, this isn’t just another long, hot summer; it’s wholesale climate change.

Top-performing reps have abandoned the conventional “solution selling”  and replaced it with “insight selling”. This new sales strategy demands a fundamentally different approach across several areas of the purchasing process.

Customers are coming to the negotiating table armed with a deep understanding of their problem(s) and a well-scoped RFP for a solution. It’s turning many of our sales conversations into fulfillment conversations. Reps must learn to engage customers much earlier, well before customers fully understand their own needs.

Most organizations tell their salespeople to give priority to customers whose senior management meets three criteria:

- The customer has a need for change.
- The customer has a clear vision of its goals.
 - The customer has a well-established processes for making purchasing decisions.

These three criteria are easily observable, for the most part, and reps and their leaders habitually rely on them to predict the likelihood and progress of potential deals.

Top-performing reps place little value on such traditional predictors. Instead, they emphasize two nontraditional criteria.
- They put a premium on customer agility: Can a customer act quickly and decisively when presented with a compelling case, or is it hamstrung by structures and relationships that stifle change?
- They pursue customers that have an emerging need or are in a state of organizational flux, whether because of external pressures, such as regulatory reform, or because of internal pressures, such as a recent acquisition, a leadership turnover, or widespread dissatisfaction with current practices. Since they’re already reexamining the status quo, these customers are looking for insights and are naturally more receptive to the disruptive ideas that top- performers bring to the table.

In conventional sales training reps are taught to find an advocate, or coach, within the customer organization to help them get the deal done. They’re given a list of attributes to look for. The description below suggests that the ideal advocate:

- is accessible and willing to meet when asked
- provides valuable information that’s typically unavailable to outside suppliers
- is predisposed to support the supplier’s solution
- is good at influencing others
- speaks the truth
- is considered credible by colleagues
- conveys new ideas to colleagues in savvy, persuasive ways
- delivers on commitments
- stands to personally gain from the sale
- will help reps network and connect with other stakeholders

It turns out that this idealized advocate doesn’t actually exist. Each attribute can probably be found somewhere in a customer organization, but rarely all come together in one person. So reps find themselves settling for someone who has some of them. And when choosing an advocate most reps walk right past the very people who could help them get the deal done, the people top-performers have learned to recognize and rely on.

Customer stakeholders can be classified according to 135 attributes and perspectives.
The distinct stakeholder  profile gives the relative ability of individuals of each type to build consensus and drive action around a large corporate purchase or initiative. The profiles aren’t mutually exclusive; most people have attributes of more than one.
Every stakeholder has a primary posture when it comes to working with suppliers and spearheading organizational change.

1. Go-Getters. Motivated by organizational improvement and constantly looking for good ideas, Go-Getters champion action around great insights wherever they find them.

2. Teachers. Passionate about sharing insights, Teachers are sought out by colleagues for their input. They’re especially good at persuading others to take a specific course of action.

3. Skeptics. Wary of large, complicated projects, Skeptics push back on almost everything. Even when championing a new idea, they counsel careful, measured implementation.

4. Guides. Willing to share the organization’s latest gossip, Guides furnish information that’s typically unavailable to outsiders.

5. Friends. Just as nice as the name suggests, Friends are readily accessible and will happily help reps network with other stakeholders in the organization.

6. Climbers. Focused primarily on personal gain, Climbers back projects that will raise their own profiles, and they expect to be rewarded when those projects succeed.

7. Blockers. Perhaps better described as “anti-stakeholders,” Blockers are strongly oriented toward the status quo. They have little interest in speaking with outside vendors.

Average reps gravitate toward three stakeholder profiles, and top-performers gravitate toward three others.

Average reps typically connect with Guides, Friends, and Climbers, types that we can group together as Talkers. These people are personable and accessible and they share company information freely, all of which makes them very appealing. But if your goal is to close a deal, not just have a chat, Talkers won’t get you very far: They’re often poor at building the consensus necessary for complex purchasing decisions. Ironically, traditional sales training pushes reps into the arms of Talkers thus reinforcing the very underperformance companies seek to improve.
The profiles that top-performers pursue, Go-Getters, Teachers, and Skeptics, are far better at generating consensus. We can refer to them as Mobilizers. A conversation with a Mobilizer isn’t necessarily easy. Because Mobilizers are focused first and foremost on driving productive change for their company, that’s what they want to talk about, their company, not yours. In fact, in many ways Mobilizers are deeply supplier-agnostic. They’re less likely to get behind a particular supplier than behind a particular insight. Reps who rely on a traditional features-and-benefits sales approach will probably fail to engage Mobilizers.
Endless questioning and needs diagnosis are of no value to Mobilizers. They don’t want to be asked what keeps them awake at night; they’re looking for outside experts to share insights about what their company should do, and they’re engaged by big, disruptive ideas. Yet upon hearing those ideas, Mobilizers ask a lot of tough questions, Go-Getters because they want to do, Teachers because they want to share, and Skeptics because they want to test.

Many sales reps will ignore the commotion and stick with solution selling, and their customers will increasingly reject them. But top-performers seeking out customers that are primed for change, challenging them with provocative insights, and coaching them on how to buy, will become indispensable. They may still be selling solutions, but more broadly, they’re selling insights.

Difference between Solution Selling an Insight Selling