Sunday 29 January 2012

3: Bargaining for Advantage

Bargaining for Advantage is career impacting book illuminating the many facets of negotiations and providing a pathway to successfully creating mutually beneficial results from the simplest of to the most dynamic of negotiations. While this is quite a bold statement I can honestly say that each member of of B2B Books was thoroughly impressed with the books ability to stimulate critical thought on the subject matter and furthermore to actively motivate positive changes in negotiation tactics and strategies. The theme that garnered the most attention from B2B Books members was; the power of leverage and how it is ever changing and subject to perspective.

That being said, here is a breakdown of topics that dominated during the B2B Books monthly gathering:
  • Leverage (as mentioned)
  • Negotiating techniques not used for too long
  • A high level of product and service knowledge is required
  • The majority of members at the meeting are relationship sellers and should adopt associated techniques more often that they currently do
  • Sell yourself more than your sell the product
  • How can we as sales professionals more readily see the best avenue to maximize goal achievement for all parties involved.
  • Set your expectations HIGH.
I'd like to touch on each of these points being that they were identified as having so much value.

Leverage is a powerful tool when and being vigilant of who possesses leverage at any given time during negotiations is vital. It can dictate appropriate actions to maintain position or suddenly shift due to exterior forces, pushing momentum in a favourable or unfavourable direction.  It was especially illuminating to never dismiss the potential of gaining leverage no matter the relative power relationship between two parties.

Another point that came to light, and I believe it always will in this club, was the resurgence of past tactics and strategies not used for ages. This point came up with regard to relationship selling and the notion of selling yourself more than selling the product. It had been lost somewhere over the previous months that the business men and women are people we do ongoing business with and they want and appreciate our support. With this came disparate strategies that potentially focused on product, service, closing or price rather than on the relationship which was perceived to be of higher import by the client. This realization impacted the day to day actions of each member.

So often, professionals assess a situation according to how to move negations forward for their or another's interests. At these times, the benefits of moving forward can involve compromise, sacrifice or collaboration to achieve. A point made early in the book was the ability to readily recognize the most beneficial action to pursue for all parties involved.  Those individuals who transcend the paradigms of a bargaining situation to find the direction that creates optimum success in the eyes of all participants is ahead in terms of negotiating prowess. How to always be this kind of sales professional is the main challenge members hoped to achieve.

The last heavily discussed point was expectation. Each and every professional deserves to be truly successful and a great way of doing so is by having high expectations. These expectations are not excessive, but attainable. They are not easily attained, but a challenge. The are not limited by perceived leverage, but set in accordance with what can be delivered in terms of product and service. Low expectations will yield low results.

To wrap things up I would like to discuss the progression of content in the book. There was a purposeful movement from basic to complex concepts which took the reader on a journey to greater understanding. This style held the interest of new and seasoned veterens of almost 20 years in sales. All attending B2B Books attending members agreed there was great value in reading this book. I warmly recommend this book to any professional who negotiates as a part of their career.

As with all the books here at B2B Books here is Amazon link to the book:

Wednesday 4 January 2012

An Intriguing Observation

In the About this Blog page, I listed a few links leading to webpages claiming that reading 7 business books a year would dramatically increase one’s earning compared to others in the same profession. In fact, the exact figure was to be able to earn 230% more.  A colleague inferred perhaps the people that do so are already motivated in their work and that the reading was not the catalyst to earn more, but a characteristic of the type of person who earns more. However true this might be, it was soon contradicted in only the third month of running B2B Books.

The other day, the same colleague pointed out something he had been experiencing while reading B2B Books latest book, a great increase in motivation and inspiration. I was very surprised by given his initial statement about increase earning potential and that he join the club. It turned out that even by the second chapter of our latest book, Bargaining for Advantage, he was not only motivated but influenced to take actions toward professional development.  I was absolutely thrilled with his drive to improve his abilities in business – hell, it motivated me as well. That being said it did make think about reading and motivation a little more in depth.

I have read that everyone wants to be good at what they do. It seems only to be natural. In fact, it would seem that everyone follows a similar path to getting better, a mental one. Each of us accomplish a work task and then mental review what we did and how we could improve upon what we have done. For instance, after a discover meeting with a client I often pick my and my colleagues brains about how I could have listened more intently, how I should asked more in depth questions, or how I could have validated concerns. I mentally compartmentalize the answers to these questions for future reference hoping to replicate them in the future.  Reading seems to pull this personal reflection to the forefront of our minds and empowers us to take action with the many different nuggets of information we come across. Basically, it enhances an already intrinsic system to improve.

What a powerful tool and it does strengthen my already held belief that reading business books will lead to increased proficiency in my career and to higher and higher incomes.