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Why Emotional Control is Imperative in a Negotiation with Jeb Blount, Ep #204

Sales Reinvented

Release Date: 07/29/2020

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Emotional control in the negotiation process is difficult to master. It’s partly because as a species we are ruled by emotion. It’s difficult to take a step back and let go of the different influences on the negotiation and focus on the facts. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Jeb Blount shares his take on emotional control in negotiation and why it’s so important to the process.

Jeb Blount is the CEO of Sales Gravy and a Sales Acceleration Specialist. He’s a best-selling author and most recently penned: INKED: The Ultimate Guide to Powerful Closing and Sales Negotiation Tactics that Unlock YES and Seal the Deal. Jeb is a world-renowned keynote speaker and the host of the Sales Gravy Podcast. This episode is packed with information you can use to become a better negotiator—don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:01] Jeb’s definition of negotiation
  • [2:04] Negotiation is the precursor to profit
  • [3:10] Salespeople find negotiation uncomfortable
  • [5:20] The rules Jeb follows in the negotiation process
  • [10:01] Emotional control and other important attributes
  • [13:16] The MLP Strategy (motivation, leverage, and power)
  • [17:18] Important negotiation dos and don’ts
  • [20:34] Jeb’s eye-opening negotiation story

Negotiation isn’t an inherent part of western culture

Negotiation is essentially emotionally controlled conflict. Jeb points out that because it’s inherently conflict, it’s difficult for people in western economies to engage in. Negotiation isn’t an everyday facet of our lives like it is in some Eastern cultures, such as India. If you’re in the UK, US, or Canada you don’t negotiate—you pay the price

Because negotiating isn’t a part of our everyday existence, we aren’t good at it nor do we like it. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding negotiating. In some instances, if you attempt to haggle or negotiate a price it’s met with contempt and an upturned nose—leaving you embarrassed. When it isn’t a cultural norm, it can feel uncomfortable. It can feel like rejection. It feels like a zero-sum game with distinct winners and losers. 

Unfortunately, most salespeople aren’t properly trained how to negotiate. If they are, they’re trained by someone who typically doesn’t have sales experience. On the flip side, most procurement people are professionally trained negotiators who know what they’re doing and take advantage of that fact. 

Three rules for the negotiation process

Jeb embraces a few rules as part of his negotiation process: 

Rule #1: Don’t negotiate until you’ve already won the deal. Until you’re selected as the vendor of choice, don’t attempt to negotiate—or you’re just negotiating with yourself.

Rule #2: Leverage the negotiation triangle. Make sure you develop a great relationship with someone in the stakeholder group. Once they select you, you’re typically shoved off to procurement who want to lower your prices. It’s nice to have a stakeholder to reach out to if it seems you’re at an impasse.

Rule #3: Incorporate a give-take playlist. Jeb points out that you should never give without taking something in return. He emphasizes that “I want to be able to give things to the buyer that are low-value to me but high-value to the buyer while I take things away from the buyer that are high-value to them.” The more you take, the more painful the negotiation process becomes—thereby compelling them to stop negotiating and align on a deal.

A salesperson must master emotional control

Jeb believes that emotional control is paramount to your success:

“Don't negotiate when you're hungry. Don't negotiate when you're tired. Don't negotiate when you're worn out. Because when you're in those positions, you're more likely to give things away that you don't have to...When you're worn out, there's a limit to your willpower, your emotional control, and discipline.”

He notes that if you’re not in a position where you can exercise full emotional control, do everything possible to reschedule the negotiation so you don’t get into a situation where you're giving away the upper hand to the buyer.

Jeb goes on to share a negotiation strategy that he teaches in his book: The MLP strategy (Motivation, Leverage, and Power). He also shares some powerful negotiation dos and don’ts. To learn more about how he leverages these in a negotiation, keep listening!

A story about the power of emotional control and relationships

Jeb’s company had spent six months going through a discovery phase with a prospect they had worked with in the past. But the deal they were working on was the largest yet. They had reached the final proposal and were selected as the vendor of choice. So the stakeholder group sent them off to procurement to nail down contracts.

Their counterparties procurement team sent them a letter stating that they had found other businesses that can do what Jeb’s company was offering—but at a better price. Jeb’s saleswoman read that letter and lost all emotional control, worried they were going to lose the deal. She was poised and ready to concede and lower their pricing to save the deal. But Jeb knew it was a negotiation tactic and responded accordingly. He let them know that they’d be happy to lower the price to fit the budget, but that something would have to be removed from the deal to do so. 

They came back to the table and quibbled over details for three solid months. The executive team was being pressured by the upper-management to wrap things up because they were now way behind schedule. Jeb received a call from the executive sponsor trying to figure out what the hold-up was. Jeb filled him in and told him that procurement had stalled the process. 

So the executive sponsor made a call to the Senior Vice President. The VP then called procurement. 24 hours later, they received their original contract, signed and ready to move forward. Jeb’s emotional control and relationship-building strategy won them the deal

This episode is PACKED with useful resources from a top sales negotiator. Listen to the whole episode to take advantage of his vast knowledge and expertise. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jeb Blount

Connect With Paul Watts 


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