I didn’t start off my career as a direct salesman per se, but rather working in retail. It could be made to argue that the two jobs are quite similar, and while they do share some similar groundwork, there is a much larger degree from suggestive selling, to outright sales. The person selling you your computer is a suggestive seller, while the person buying the computers from a manufacturer for your company to sell, is actually in sales. There are many more little intricate differences but that isn’t the point of this flashback. You see, I worked for an office supply chain, which catered to mostly other businesses. When you get your start by selling things to other sales people, you cut your teeth pretty quickly.
While we did do some price negotiation on the floor, it was very minimal and usually only in the single digit percentage, when I moved up a position to become a buyer for our company, I got to really get my feet wet in large scale negotiation. This was a point where I got to start talking figures in the six digit range for particular suppliers, and when it came time to work on what we called return to vendor items, then the haggling got right cut throat. This allowed me to learn the fine aspect of give and take when it came to buying and selling. If you don’t have the capability to do so, your tenure in sales isn’t going to last long.
Much like stated in The Gambler, you need to know when to walk away, and sales is no different. You can actually turn the tide on a sale really well if you know when to bluff walking away, but you also run the risk of having your bluff called and walking away with nothing. Knowing the person across the bargaining table from you is key, and knowing what you can get away with in the realm of a bluff is paramount. You will often see this tactic employed in car sales, for the buyer, or seller to feign leaving the deal on the table.
In my growth in sales there were many times that I had to play this card, and it worked about as well as flipping a coin on the matter. No matter who you’re dealing with, there is always a sway room where they feel that their end of the stick is simply too short, and no matter what you attempt, your ruse will get called. Mastering this art can be one of the first steps in mastering sales, but in truth, I find that being honest, even when you’re trying to be dishonest is one of the best skills a salesman can have. What I mean by this is that even if you’re not speaking the outright truth, as long as you’re speaking your truth with conviction, the mark will know it. This will greatly increase you’re chance at productive sales, for you at least.