The most important question I tend to ask my clients is:
"What do you REALLY want – and why?"
I have found that the best sales negotiators seem to focus on identifying and providing a solution for their clients‘ imperatives – the things they feel they absolutely must be, do or have.
What tends to motivate clients is not the product, service or solution you provide, but how this will help them to achieve their desired outcome.
From the client’s perspective, what we sell is simply a means to an end.
What they really want is the desired effect.
Great sales negotiators enable their clients to quickly and effectively close the gap between their current reality and where they wish to be.
Such reality-gaps can be terribly painful and frustrating.
In the business world these gaps are often caused by important strategy, innovation and business transformation projects that fail to generate real traction.
My corporate clients usually come to when they need to close the gap in stalled business negotiations, resolve crisis situations with major clients and suppliers, or secure the success of business-critical change projects.
What they buy is not my service.
They buy the effect.
Their imperative is to get the gap closed.
This is their “must have” – no matter what the
When I recently chipped a tooth, I immediately called my dentist for an appointment.
I didn't ask him for a price quotation.
Although I teach negotiation, I didn't feel that I was in a position to haggle.
I just wanted to get my tooth fixed a.s.a.p.
This was my imperative.
The cost was never an issue.
I have found that if you help your clients to close their most painful gaps, the price-discussions tend to go away.
What are your clients’ true imperatives?