Negotiations and sales in web studio

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From the article you will learn how to negotiate with customers and partners in b2b.


Many of the thoughts in this article are inspired by Gavin Kennedy’s book, “You can agree on everything,” and, of course, personal experience.

Who needs who?

When I was just starting to sell site development services to our clients, I always had one unshakable and destructive thought: they do not need us, we need them . I thought that “they” can safely go to another contractor, because the market is huge. He believed that if we did not receive this order, then this could be our end. Such thoughts put me in a weak position even before the start of negotiations. I knew what kind of profitability we needed, but I was simply afraid to voice such numbers, because I thought that the uncle opposite would throw me out of his office when he saw the figure of more than 150 thousand.

In fact, this is not so. For starters, you do not need to put yourself in a known weak position. Not the fact that your company will fall apart if you do not receive this order. But with full confidence I can say that she will die slowly and painfully if you work below cost. But most importantly, you do not know what position this very uncle is in front of you. This may be the head of the marketing department, to whom the general manager said that the production of the site should begin tomorrow. Or it may be an entrepreneur whose competitor entered the online market a week ago and began to grow sharply. If he does not make his move online quickly, then he may be left with nothing. This may be the boss who has spent 10 hours meeting with the studios, no one has arranged for him and he no longer intends to waste time. But he needs a site anyway.

Remember: you do not know the situation on the other side , it will be in your favor with a 50% probability, and it is quite possible that the client really needs you, and not you.


Give me a 10% discount and your project

The phrase that I hear almost every time I sell a project.

What do you think is better: to give up something that is not very valuable to you under pressure to create an atmosphere of goodwill, or not?
Think well, this is the first question G. Kennedy asks in his book.

If you think it is better to give in, then you definitely need to read the book. I answered yes, and this is a huge mistake. If you have made a concession (and by concession I mean precisely a gratuitous reduction of your requirements), then any normal person will think:
  • If he agreed so easily, then he initially demanded a lot
  • It will be possible to put pressure on this guy during the project, he will silently agree

Moreover, this is something not very valuable to you, it may be very necessary for your potential client. It turns out that you are already far from cheap and useless.

And why on earth would concessions create goodwill? Concessions are your reaction to the pressure of a person, a reward for his behavior. And once you awarded him once, he will definitely want more. And, during the course of the project, you will only do what to concede.


Soften conditions until a response is received

Another mistake that I used to come across was the softening of my requirements and conditions even before I received an offer from the other side. Now I understand that this is just horror. And I can hardly imagine how, after all, my company began to grow with such a terrible negotiator.
This usually happened like this: we discussed a project with a potential customer, he saw that I am competent in site building and know what to do. In general, he likes us. And then it comes to discussing the cost. I said something in the spirit: “It will take 3 months to develop all the specified functionality, and it will cost 300,000 rubles.” After this phrase, the smile disappeared from the interlocutor’s face, and the eyebrows quickly flew up. When I saw this horror, I began to realize: if you do not reduce the cost, he will leave. Now I certainly understand that it is necessary to justify the cost, and not to reduce it. But then, I could say something in the spirit: “But you know, I liked you so much that I am ready to give you a 10% discount.” Just a disaster, agree?
What would I do now in the place of this client? I would wait a bit to get a stupid discount from myself. Then I would make a very surprised face, and would say that I need to think. In “thoughts”, I would receive a letter from stupid myself with new, even more favorable conditions.

This is such a commonplace mistake, but often it occurs in a much more sophisticated form. Then just look at the negotiations from the side, and you will immediately recognize it. I think we lost a hundred or two thousand due to this mistake.

So, if you are in b2b sales, do not lose your position before the start of negotiations, do not make unilateral concessions and do not soften your terms until you receive a counter offer.

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