Negotiation Pitfalls: Avoid These Deal-Breaking Mistakes!


John A PalumboGuest Blogger: John A. Palumbo, The Sterling Group

At a Jan. 22 International Builders’ Show seminar in Las Vegas, John Palumbo, CEO of The Sterling Group based in Jacksonville, Fla., provided several strategies to help builders to seal the deal more often than not by demonstrating the biggest and most common negotiation deal breakers:

No Differentiation. Most small builders are not doing research that shows why they are better than their competitors, said Palumbo. “If you do what everyone else is doing, you are missing sales.” One example he cited that makes a community stand out is a food truck that comes three days a week to serve the local residents.

Negotiating With Your Customers. “Consumers don’t like ‘aggressive’ salespeople but they love ‘assertive’ salespeople,” said Palumbo. The most successful are those who use information, charm and the power of persuasion to maximize sales. Make the customer feel like they made the right choice in their home purchase without being talked into it.

Treating All Sales the Same. Salespeople who sound automated and like they are reciting from a script come off as insincere to the customer. The most successful, he said, are “unsalespersons” who are spontaneous, casual, authentic and relaxed and who use their own words and stories. They are able to observe, uncover and predict their prospect’s behavior, thereby evoking emotion and communicating more effectively.

Not Using Third-Party Endorsements. Companies that properly use third-party endorsements can increase their sales by 25% to 30%, said Palumbo. When it comes to the bottom line, customers who have seen written correspondence, videos and social media endorsements are better positioned to buy your products with less negotiating and feel as though they have not been persuaded at all.

To make the endorsement process easy, ask a satisfied customer for a few short words or sentences on why they were happy with their home purchase and then write it up yourself and get it signed off by the customer.

Not Hypnotizing the Customer. Customers don’t want to be informed, they have already done their homework on the Internet. They want to be guided and given a reason to feel good about their purchase so that when they go home at night, they are thrilled about the decision they made earlier in the day with you.

Quitting too Soon. “Call me if you have any questions, here’s my card, let me grab a brochure.” These are all examples of salespeople who quit too soon and never make it across the finish line. Don’t throw in the towel on your next customer so soon. Do not let “feeling pushy” stop you from making one more call or letting your customer walk out the door without a contract in hand.

Being a Good Listener. The ability to interpret what you hear from the customer is vital. Most deal breakers occur because of a disconnect between what the customer is actually saying and what the salesperson thinks they are saying. By honing in on the customer’s needs and desires, you can use that information to initiate a solid purchase decision.

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