3 min read

Sales Negotiation & Sales Closing Tips From Pitch Man Don Draper

don draperMy brother introduced me to the T.V hit series Mad Men at the conclusion of season 3. I breezed through those first three seasons via Netflix in just a few weeks and haven't looked back since! What's not to love, sales, an over indulgence of booze, crazy corporate shenanigan's and brilliant writing. Oh, I guess there is a fair amount of sex not to mention adultery. But if you can get past that last part I assure you you will learn something about pitching a deal and sales closing.

Check out the scene below. 


This to me is the ultimate sales takeaway. Don says "it's O.K. Kenny, I don't think there is much else to do but call it a day." He's ending the meeting.  Notice he doesn't beg and plead for the customers approval of his idea and to make the sale. Brilliant....but it gets better.  The client asks Don to sit down. In total defiance, Don responds with "no, not until I know I'm not wasting my time." He's not submitting to the client like many sales people all too often do but instead he's dictating his terms. He's in complete control of the sale.  Yes, that certainly requires some courage but the rewards far outweigh the risk. Talk about a sweet sales negotiation move.  I like to refer to this as the sales takeaway.  This is all part of how Don Draper closes sales. You can do this too!  Let me show you how. 

The beauty of this sales negotiation or sales closing move is not a hard to learn sale technique or strategy. In fact, I'd say its more about having the proper mind set, self-confidence and deep belief in what you stand for and what you sell then anything else.  Now let's tie this into the everyday sales scenarios we face when selling IT staffing services.

We call prospects and customers and ask for sales meetings. In return they often say "I'm too busy," "I don't have time," or "I have no reason to meet with you."  What do we do in return?  Most often we push and push and push the client to meet with us. We say things like "I promise to keep it to 30 minutes," or "I just want to pop in and say hello and introduce myself" (really?  You want to want to accomplish more than that don't you?) or "I just need/want do discuss with you the following..." The problem is, two horrible things are happening when we display this sales behavior.

First, we're coming across pathetically desperate and needy. Nobody wants to hear from a desperate sales person. When we push the customer or prospect with weak justifications for meeting with us or buying our product or service, or to do whatever it is we are asking them to do, we appear needy. Do you want to hang out with needy, high maintenance people? I didn't think so.  Either does your customer.  Remember this, people tend to want to have things they can't have. That means you need to learn to make yourself the prize!  This is what Don Draper does.

Second, and this is a BIG one. Displaying this desperate, needy sales behavior actually elevates the stature of the prospect and demotes the sales person's positioning.  In essence, we're putting the customer/prospect on a pedestal and weakening our positioning by pleading for whatever it is we're asking for.  The more we beg and plead, the deeper the grave we dig.  We're "talking up" to the customer.  We all know about how the industry is "so "commoditized."  Part of the reason for this is directly tied to this sales behavior.  If we continue to display this behavior we continue to elevate the stature of our prospects and demote ourselves and weaken our negotiation position in the process.  The customer will never treat us as an equal.  Why would they? And we will never be viewed, let alone treated as a "partner" until we change this behavior.

Drive Customer Engagement

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What I have found to be effective to counter all of this is to use small, subtle take always, like our friend, Don Draper.  It's akin to pulling the prospect in (building their interest) but then slightly pushing them away.  This works because it keeps the prospect engaged.  It makes the prospect think, you're different from all of the others.  Just the other day I was speaking with a brand new prospect.  She started telling me all about the type of sales training her team needs and why and so forth.  After speaking for about 30 minutes I asked her, "why would your company be a good customer for me?"  She laughed but then paused....silence for a few seconds...and then said that is a really good question.  She thought about it for a few seconds more and then responded.  The point is, I want her to to understand that I don't just do business with anyone.  My customers need to qualify for my business as much as I need to qualify for theirs. I'm an equal and I'm setting the stage for tone for that.  I have plenty of great ideas to share and I want to make sure that I share them with those who are committed to implementing them.

This reminds me of some advice I received very early in my career and it has stuck with me ever since.  "The beauty of the sales profession is the sales person gets to pick which customers they do business with.  You don't have to do business with jerks."

To learn more, download our eBook, Your Guide to Mastering Consultative Selling.

Your Guide to Mastering Consultative Selling

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