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Top 40 Business Tips #40: To Sell More, Listen and Give

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We have distilled some of the best pieces of business advice given in more than 630 episodes of our daily BTalk podcast. Check by each day to hear the latest as we count down to the top tip in early February — and follow the links to earlier podcasts if you want to hear more.

Today, the importance of seeing sales negotiations as a two way transaction. It sounds obvious in theory, but do you really put it into practice? Author and business coach Bob Burg says you need to be a “go giver”, putting your customer’s interests first; focusing on adding value to their lives rather than focusing on making a sale. He suggests that a “willing suspension of your own self-interest” will help you to see things from the buyer’s point of view.

By putting yourself in their position, you’ll understand what motivates them to buy. And what they are looking for is usually far more than just the features of your product. That’s often a secondary aspect of the value you provide — excellence, consistency, attention, empathy and appreciation are far more important. These are values provided by the salesperson and everyone who interacts with the customer.

Simon Kelland, Managing Director of Scotwork Negotiating Skills, says positional bargaining assumes there’s a finite amount of resources available, so you have to arm wrestle to see who gets the most. That means there’s always a winner and loser. A more productive way forward is to assume that you can make the pie bigger, so everyone wins.

From a sales point of view that makes perfect sense. You put yourself in your customer’s mind, you see what they want and the discussion quickly becomes less about price and more about what else you can offer and how you can exceed their expectations.

In the end, you’re happy with the result and the customer feels like you’re doing them a favour. All because you were — to use the title of Bob Burg’s book — a “go giver”.

First published on CBS News

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