Hold Your Ground as a Salesperson


 To often, salespeople think that buyers who hold cash have the ultimate prize. In turn, salespeople will beg and grovel for business, going to almost any lengths before they find out that the buyer is just not that interested:) This mindset is a sure-fire way to fail. Buyer’s need your product just as much as you need their money. If you believe you are the prize, it will become true.

 We’ve devised some pointers for developing a more quid pro quo sales process. If you’re not up to date on your Latin, quid pro quo means “what for what” or equal exchange or substitution. In our case, for everything the seller does for the buyer, the buyer should also do something to help the seller advance the sales process.

If you don’t feel there is a good balance in the sales process, here are some good responses to help restore the equilibrium. Ultimately, we recommend you craft your own responses.

Buyer asks: “Can we setup a meeting?”

Absolutely, when can the decision makers attend? We want them to be in the room to help shorten the buying process, so we aren’t wasting your time.

Buyer asks: “Can I get a proposal or pricing?”

Absolutely, before we do so can you share the current issues you are facing, timeline for your decision, and what your budget is. We don’t want to propose features or services that don’t fit your needs.

Also, I want to make sure we present the proposal in person, over the phone, or screen-share so we are able to answer any immediate questions and help you compare this solution. When is an appropriate time to meet?

Buyer asks: “Can we get a presentation or demo?”

Absolutely, when are all the decision makers present? I also want to make sure we understand your issues clearly, so we are only demoing the features that are most critical to you.

Buyer asks: “Can we get a free trial?”

Even better than a free-trial, we have a low-risk signup process that gives you sufficient time to learn the product and decide whether it’s a good fit. We’ve found that a system like ours takes commitment from the user, so a short-term free trial is a lose-lose situation for both sides.

Buyer asks: “Can we get some references?”

Absolutely, our other clients time is valuable, so before we get references, we just need to make sure you approve the price and terms. We can meet with the references together and ask about their pros and cons after using the system.

Buyer asks: “Can we get a discount?”

Absolutely, we give a 5% discount to all customers that refer us to one of their friends.

Other Considerations

Cost of Acquiring Customer

Note, the above advice doesn’t apply to you if your cost to acquire customers is less than the cost to setup a demo, presentation, proposal, etc. For example, if your product is a $25 a month subscription, then it doesn’t make financial sense to give a 1 hour demo or presentation to each customer. In those situations, having free trials and frictionless signup processes is important.

Frame it Positively

At first try not to say “no” to the seller. It’s always best to try to frame things using enforcing terms (“Yes and..”) rather than contradicting words (“No”, “But”). This will build a better relationship and liking between you and the buyer.

When It’s Okay to Say NO.

After having framed things positively, and a customer is still trying to take more than they give, you must set boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no politely. Remember to always follow it with a reason. (Ex: “No, because…”)

Call Their Bluff

When you know a customer really wants your product and is trying to negotiate hard, say, “let’s end this meeting right now so you guys can focus on finding the right product…we’d love to have you as a customer, but only if you see the value we provide for all our customers.”