Hello and welcome to a brand-new weekly segment here on MorganLinton.com, Sales Sunday. I have been making more regular segments on my blog based on what you, my reader, has been asking for. One of the top requests I get from readers is to talk more about sales so I thought, heck, let’s make this a weekly thing!
As many of your know I worked for digital music startup Sonos for nine years and spent all nine of those years in sales. The first three years I worked as a salesperson, and the next six as a manager in charge of International sales in Asia, Australia, Latin American and Canada. I’ve negotiated more multi-million dollar deals than I can count on three hands and have been in some pretty tough negotiations all over the world.
Which brings me to the topic of my first post in this new weekly segment, 3 ways negotiations fall apart. While you’re not going to close every sale, you certainly should try. I find that many domain investors don’t even take the time to let a sale happen because they either ignore offers or insult the person making the offer. Just because someone puts a $99 offer on your domain, doesn’t mean that’s their budget. Last week I sold a domain for $2,500 with an offer that started at $99, if I had told the guy to get lost or sent some rude email back, that deal would have never happened.
Now I’m not saying you should assume that everyone offering $99 is going to pay thousands of dollars for a domain, but I am saying that you should treat every inquiry as an opportunity. However this weekly segment isn’t just about domains, it really is about sales in general and honestly, sales is sales, so let’s get to it! Below are three common ways that sale falls apart:
- One side offends the other – sorry but businesses don’t do business with businesses, people do business with people. If you’re an annoying person to do business with you might be losing sales left and right. Of course you might not realize it and most bad salespeople like to blame the customer. I’ve heard electronics salespeople say things like, “He was never going to buy that big screen TV anyway,” when I would ask how they knew they would say, “His budget was too low.” A good salesperson knows that selling is about teaching and inspiring, I’ve seen great salespeople turn $1,500 budgets into $3,000 budgets and I’ve seen $1M deals turn into $5M deals, it can happen, but not if you offend the buyer.
- The seller doesn’t learn about the buyer – this should probably be #1 in the list but let’s just consider one and two tied in this case. Good salespeople learn about their buyer. If you don’t know who is making an offer, you don’t know what their real budget could be. Many people start bidding low even when their budgets are high. I had a domain client with a $500,000 budget that was emailing one-word .COM owners starting with $500 offers, in most cases he was getting no response but in some cases he was getting downright nasty responses. He kept a list of who sent the nasty responses and when it came time to buy he told me “I don’t want to buy from these people.” The problem was, not only did the buyer get offended, but the sellers didn’t take the time to learn who the buyer was. If they did, they would know he had a lot more than $500 to spend on a domain. The same is true in any deal, you should know how much money your buyer makes a year, where they live (nothing creepy like exact address but know if they live in Beverly Hills or Compton), etc. The more you know about the buyer, the better you can understand them and work out a deal.
- Unreasonable contracts – so I have done a lot of contract negotiation over the years. This means that along with seeing some very fair contracts, I’ve also seen some completely ridiculous ones. If the contract is unreasonable, and the other side is unwilling to change it, then the deal disintegrates quickly. There’s a fine line between reasonable and unreasonable and if you haven’t negotiated many contracts yourself, bring in a good lawyer and have them take a look. You can be a great person who people like to work with, and have learned everything there is to know about a buyer, but if your contract is completely unreasonable, your deal might not happen. If you don’t need the deal, the who cares, but as a salesperson you should be trying to close deals, and your time valuable so don’t waste it negotiating a contract that nobody wants to sign.
As always I’d love to hear from you, feel free to comment on any of my points above or share some tips or experiences of your own. Comment and let your voice be heard!