Today I want to talk about perspective. Any relationship between a buyer and a seller starts with perspective. To illustrate that, let me share the following example:
Imagine you’re sitting opposite a buyer at the negotiation table and in between the both of you is a coffee cup. From your perspective, the ear might be on the right side, however if you would ask the buyer, they would say the ear is on the left side.
Now, this is fascinating, because you are looking at the exact same object that’s physically in front of you and you still both have a different perspective of the situation.
Can you imagine what it looks like in a more complex negotiation? You could easily be miles apart.
I’ve seen it happen so often. Sellers making proposals that are servicing their own needs instead of the customer. I’ve literally had thousands of interactions with sellers and I can guarantee you the ones who didn’t understand my position, never won any business.
So, what can you do as a seller? What’s the golden tip in these situations? My advice would be to ask the following 2 questions to a buyer when you meet them:
Question 1: “What are the objectives for your business this year?“
By asking this, you avoid the trap of a buyer saying: “just give me a better price”, instead you’re focusing on the bigger picture of the organisation that the buyer is part of. This way you’re forcing them to take a step back from their personal objectives.
Probably you’ll get one of the following answers:
- “We want to grow our business this year by x%.” or
- “We want to stay ahead of our competitors” or perhaps
- “We want to become more profitable this year”
They are all very valid answers; and probably your objectives will be similar within your own organisation.
The second question you could raise, would then be: “What can I do to support you in achieving these objectives?”
This question opens up a world of opportunities, ranging from “partnerships” all the way down to “price-reductions”.
The great thing about this is, that by asking these 2 questions, you are creating a warm and trusting environment built on respect and understanding. You show that you are genuinely interested in helping your counterpart across the table to be successful.
Now, which buyer doesn’t want that?