We don’t have a lot of sword battles many more.  The old adage of winning and losing by the sword is true in sales just replace the word sword with price


Speaking of sword fights, here is a video clip that I often share with salespeople to help them understand the keys to success in sales. 



What are your takeaways from the video?


There are actually 6, but I have 2 favorites.  First, there is one moment in every sales conversation where the sale can be won or lost, and you have to be patient enough to wait for it.  It takes time to build rapport and credibility.  Salespeople need to be willing to go slow, ask questions, and wait for their moment.


The other lesson is: you cannot care whether you get the business or not. Did you notice Mark’s response when Lancelot made the statement, “you cannot care if you live or die” at the end of the scene?  He was not quite so confident. No one wants to lose in sales but investing in the outcome makes it impossible to sit back and wait for your moment. 



A sure sign that your sales team is too attached to outcomes is a continual request for price reductions. If your sales team frequently asks for discounts, there is a problem, but it is not with your prospects or your pricing.   


Reps want discounts when they fail to have consultative conversations with prospects. Their conversations are what we call transactional. Salespeople shoot themselves in the foot by talking about features and making products commodities instead of solutions. They fail to understand the prosects’ needs!!



Everyone of your prospects care about value.



Prospects need help recognizing the value compared to their need and, more importantly, exactly how your valuable offering will help solve their problem.  I’ve learned that prospects will always pay extra for value because they are people and people pay for value every day. 


Take bottled water for example.  Most people can get water out of a faucet for relatively little money.  Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Nestle all do pretty well selling bottles of water.  Did you know the average 16.9 ounce bottle ($1.45/bottle) equates to $11.60 per gallon?! 


Prospects will pay for value when they understand how it helps them save time, make/save money, or mitigate risk.


A consultative selling conversation opens the door to higher margins, longer relationships, and credibility.  Here is how a salesperson knows they had a consultative sales conversation: 


  • They uncovered compelling reasons the prospect WILL buy.
  • The rep properly differentiated themselves, the company, and your offering by asking good questions, great questions, and tough questions.
  • The prospect’s problem was quantified.
  • They created urgency with the prospect that the problem must be solved.


Salespeople who offer discounts are uncomfortable right now, and even a bit frustrated.  Here is a fact to understand: salespeople who work hard to get the best price on the purchases they make for themselves or their family, are likely to honor or feel compelled to provide discounts. 


These salespeople have non-supportive BuyCycleTM and this belief prevents them from being able to sell value, maintain margins, and compete based on the merits of their product or service. 


Our partners at Objective Management Group’s data from the assessments of well over two million salespeople, 73% of all salespeople have a non-supportive BuyCycleTM.   A non-supportive BuyCycleTM is one of six Sales DNA competencies that are critical to sales success.  Learn more here


Your mindset must be that you don’t negotiate on price.  If you are selling on price, you will eventually lose the business on price.  Avoid the entire price negotiation conversation with a consultative sales approach. 


For the prospect who still goes to price, try asking them what if I told you I can’t discount? 


After telling the prospect there’s no discount, your rep will definitely not win the deal if they didn’t have a consultative conversation.  If they were consultative, the price negotiation is off the table. Now they can remind the prospect of the compelling reasons to purchase (uncovered during discovery), as well as the cost if they don’t buy. Remind them of their urgency to solve.  


Your salesperson just might have the bottle of water they need.  If they didn’t have the right conversation, they’ll be left standing there without a sword!