Selling and negotiating are related, but they’re different enough from each other that they may require different ethical standards.
Win Without Pitching®: Thinking
Navigating the Sale
Payment terms are right below price on the list of important items you will negotiate. On one hand, I think some creative firms don’t think creatively enough about using payment terms to get an otherwise tricky deal done, but on the other hand, some larger clients can be ruthless at imposing arduous terms on their agencies and other suppliers. Let’s look at how to leverage the former and defend against the latter.
I’ve written previously on the steps creative firms should take, but here I’m suggesting we finally call bullshit and throw out the RFP altogether.
Qualifying is the act of vetting. In a qualifying conversation, the agency vets the lead to see if this prospective client and their project is a good fit for the firm, and the client vets the agency to see if their expertise is a fit for them and their project. That’s how it should work.
If you run any business of expertise you will come to rely on all sorts of models. The longer you are in business, the larger your model toolbox becomes.
It’s been a couple of years since I fully delegated the sales function at Win Without Pitching but last week I found myself taking a few sales calls. I logged off of each one with an overwhelming sense of exuberance. “That was fun!”
I wondered how many other people felt the same way. At the end of the week I posted a twitter poll asking, “Is selling fun for you?”
The Flip is our name for the moment in the conversation between you and a prospective client when you move, in their eyes, from the position of lowly vendor to the more lofty one of expert practitioner.
Enough time has passed now I can tell this story without naming names.
You never want to make assumptions in the sale. If you feel yourself assuming something, you need to lean into that and ask a question about what it is that you are assuming. Because when you make assumptions in the sale, it will likely lead you down a really long and expensive path.
The subjectivity of value works both ways. Value is highly personal and subjective but it is so to all parties on both sides of the buy-sell divide. Just as two different clients considering the same offering from the same firm will assign different value to that offering, so too will two different salespeople trying to sell that offering.
You will get a curated collection of Blair’s best writing, videos, and podcast episodes immediately after signing up.
Then, you’ll receive Blair’s latest work as it’s published.