As a building materials manufacturer, your customers are getting larger. Part of getting larger means that their buyers are better negotiators than your sales people. Without better negotiating skills, your sales people might as well be naked.
You wonder why big boxes, big builders, and big distributors seem to have the upper hand when you are dealing with them. It’s really quite simple, they are better negotiators than your sales people, as they have been trained to negotiate.
Most building materials manufacturers give their sales people product training and maybe a generic course in how to sell anything. At the annual sales meeting, they may have a guy who climbed Mt Everest and makes them feel, for a few days, that they can conquer the world.
They don’t invest in training their sales people to be better negotiators. Maybe they’re afraid that they’ll be better negotiators when it comes to their salaries:)
Your Sales People Need To Be Better Negotiators
Chuck Shinn, the founder of Builder Partnerships, was a speaker at one of our workshops for manufacturers who want to sell to homebuilders. He helps his 700 builder members to be more profitable. One of the ways he helps them is by training their purchasing people to be better negotiators. He pointed out to the manufacturers who attended our workshop, how unprepared they were to deal with their customers.
To Chuck, negotiation is a skill that needs to be practiced. Our culture looks down on negotiating as if it is not polite. Unfortunately, the better negotiator gets the better deal. To keep his skills sharp, Chuck practices negotiating every chance he gets. If you are uncomfortable with negotiating, you probably don’t want to fly or check into a hotel with Chuck as he negotiates for an upgrade. He’s also likely to get a free desert at a restaurant.
If you want to level the playing field with your customers, help your sales people become better negotiators. Perhaps one of those negotiating classes that are in every airline magazine is a good place to start. Here is some great simple advice on negotiating skills.
Without negotiating skills, your sales people might as well be naked.
Thanks for the following comments. I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.
“I enjoyed the Karrass series immensely and can’t agree with you more. Precious few invest in the art of negotiation and so much of a salesperson’s time is spent doing just that, day in and day out. Another great blog Mark!”