7Timing Matters: Avoid Negotiating Red Herrings and Objections

A big problem for salespeople is that they tend to chase negotiation red herrings early in the sales process, causing them to give their leverage away for free and handcuff themselves with one-sided early concessions.

A red herring is something that distracts you from your focus, misleads you, or diverts your attention from the objective of your sales conversation. For example, during your initial meeting, before any discovery has been done, the stakeholder tells you that they’ve been doing research online and seen that your competitor’s prices are much lower. They want to know if you’ll match them.

It’s so easy to get drawn into defending your pricing in situations like this and lose control of the conversation and your leverage. This is why you must avoid getting distracted by red herrings at all costs.

The term red herring is thought to originate from the practice of dragging a dead fish across a trail to pull hounds off the scent. And this is exactly what happens when you abandon the objective of your call to chase a red herring. Rather than controlling the agenda, moving toward your targeted next step, advancing the sale, and preserving your leverage, you start negotiating with yourself.

Without thinking, you lose emotional control and give away terms, conditions, and discounts. Or you: make special promises before you’ve fully qualified the opportunity; engaged your prospect in discovery; gained insight into ...

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