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If You Feel It-Say It

by Peter Ekstrom

Peter EkstromFranchisees and franchisors can learn a lesson from this article by sales guru Peter Ekstrom. Better to speak up than remain silent.

Off the cuff remarks are getting plenty of attention in the media today. Most captured off the cuff' remarks come with bad repercussions, and that makes headlines and sells newspapers. No one in their right mind wants to be known for a bad 'off the cuff' remark so they tend not to speak their mind at all. Today, people are very conscious about speaking their mind because of the potential harm they feel it could do to their reputation. For the average person, saying what's really on your mind can be dangerous thing. I read somewhere that it's better to be thought a fool than to speak up, and confirm it. No wonder people hesitate to say what they feel.

On the other hand, not speaking your mind can be a dangerous thing as well, especially when it comes to business negotiations. For example, not asking for the order, asking for direction, or remaining silent about the pertinent details of a contract can evaporate trust, and do permanent damage your business dealings.

For some reason, some people in business will keep their comments and questions to themselves, and not say, or ask what they want to because they think it's safer to remain silent. According to them, sometimes speaking out can do more harm than good, and some things are better off left unsaid. In other words they don't want to lose the deal by saying something that could damage their negotiating position. However, leaving something important out of any business transaction can, and will, come back to haunt you later on. Be sure that anything important left unsaid, or unasked, has the potential to develop a misunderstanding, and then it's just a matter of time before it comes to the surface, and causes your sales negotiation to collapse. Perhaps you've experienced this yourself when a prospective customer said something to you along the lines of, "I thought you meant...". I thought you said..." "You didn't tell me I had to...". Awkward!!

When one party in any negotiation is unclear about what is going on, and what happens next, the whole negotiation collapses. Your job as a salesperson or business owner is to manage the expectations of your prospective customers, and make crystal clear all of the particulars surrounding what it is that you are negotiating for. That means you've got to speak up and face the music! For God's sake, don't hide! If you are afraid to ask, or afraid to say what you mean, you are making a costly mistake. Keep in mind that you cannot close a deal unless both parties understand and agree. What you are negotiating for must be clear and certain in its terms. Ipso Facto!

In business, uncomfortable subject matter has to be placed out on the table in full view of your prospective customer in advance. Full disclosure is the only way to go, and of course there may be repercussions. The prospective customer may not like your terms and conditions. So what? The issue is whether you are able to handle the repercussions in a professional and effective manner? You see, it's not the repercussions that matter so much as it's the way in which you handle the repercussions. The question is whether you are brave enough, and up to the task to deal with rejection.

In any business honesty is the best policy. If your words are taken out of context you can always apologize, and restate your position. Don't hold back what needs to be said, and let it go at that. Being candid and forthright in your business dealings with customers, even if it may cost you the sale, is a long term strategy towards establishing yourself as a trusted advisor, and a valued supplier.

Peter Ekstrom provides sales advice and training through The DealBuilder he also writes the GoldCall blog. Peter can be reached at 516-541-8160

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