Coaching plays a valuable role in helping to reinforce decision-making, strengthen negotiation positions, prepare and plan for various scenarios to reduce surprise and risk, and improve confidence. The following two scenarios explore the outcomes of selling activities with or without the involvement of coaching.

Scenario 1: Matt was working on a big negotiation with a customer. Preparing his offer included estimating the measurable business impact his offering would provide for his customer. His pricing was well thought out, with consideration to any discounts he would offer as well as an established “walk away” stance. Matt believed his plan was a “winner.” Sadly, when he met with the procurement staff, he didn’t even get to finish his presentation and explain the ROI he prepared, because they became angry and cut the meeting short.

Why did Matt’s meeting go down this way?

For Scenario 2, let’s insert a coach into the planning and preparation process: Matt was working on a big negotiation with a customer. He reviewed his presentation and the measurable business impact his offering would provide with Sarah, his negotiation coach. Sarah asked him a few questions: Who was going to be in the meeting? What is their role in the decision? Why do they want this offering? What Give-Gets can you make if they want a discount? Matt and Sarah finished with a role play to rehearse how the meeting might play out. The outcome for this negotiation is predictably very different from the Scenario 1.

In Scenario 2, when confronted by an angry procurement person, Matt responded calmly and professionally. He followed the plan he created with Sarah and knew that procurement was just playing a game. Matt was prepared; he stood his ground. When pressed for a discount, he used Give-Gets and took something of value off the table. This technique forced procurement to acknowledge that the offering was important to the user, and they got back to work to close the deal.

The coach played a valuable role in Scenario 2 by helping Matt plan for the negotiation, strengthen his hand and build his confidence to negotiate by playing out the scenario in advance of the call.

There are a few keys to this coach’s success:

  • Identify the scope of contacts: Do we have the breadth and depth of contact we need to fully understand our offering’s business impact?
  • Tactical planning: Help the seller refine the key points of the presentation, answering, “Why is each point important?” and “Who in the customer environment will be most impacted?”
  • Clarify any internal mandates: Ensure that the seller understands how senior management will support their approach to Give-Gets and/or their “Walk-away” stance that might impact the sale.
  • Role-play different scenarios: Help the seller understand what the customer might say and give them guidance on how the customer tactics can be effectively counteracted.

This list is not exhaustive. However, sales leaders and coaches who embed these five points into their coaching interactions will see a dramatic difference in outcomes and sales performance.

For more tips on improving negotiated outcomes, see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

To hear from Chris Mitchell, vice president of Holden Advisors, on her top 5 tips for improving selling outcomes through better sales coaching, view this short video: