How to avoid being taken for a ride by salespeople

1 December 2017

Buyers are paying 20% more than they should because salespeople gain the upper hand in negotiations, Tim Jenkins of WheelSpinner told delegates at the CIPS annual UK conference

To remain in control, buyers should understand sales processes, he said.
He gave a quick tour of spin selling, the most popular method:

1. Sellers start with situational questions: how big is your business; who are your competitors; how is the market changing? These questions are no help to you, he says, and start to bore you.

2. Then they ask about your problem: your biggest challenges; what keeps you awake at night? They keep going until they find one they can solve.

3. Then they ask you really kindly about the implications of that problem. By this time, says Jenkins, you feel you are in therapy rather than in negotiations. You talk about the implications, and they keep pushing, like they have found a bruise on your arm, to make your problem worse and the solution more valuable.

4. Finally they get to payoff: if I can solve this problem, would you want it? By this stage you bite their hand off, Jenkins says.

But sellers should leave the room not knowing if they have the job, he stresses. So don’t do too much smiling, head tilting, nodding, leaning forward or jigging about in the chair enthusiastically; or discussing price before the solution has been nailed down. And never say “when” – always use “if”.

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