Everyone wants to negotiateโ€ฆ no one wants to disco

This is just something I noticed that everyone thinks selling is closing and negotiating and presenting and smooth talking.

I definitely fell into this earlier in my career as well and still do sometimes.

The more I learn about sales it seems like it all comes back to how good you disco and and how well you use the info you get during the deal cycle but no one talks about too much. So many trainings are about negotiation or setting next steps which are obviously important but those things fall in place if you disco correctly.

We hire reps from top tier SaaS companies who are used to asking 3 questions and then order taking and I see top Enterprise reps doing the same thing.

Am I missing something here? Or where am I off base?

๐Ÿ‘‘ Sales Strategy
Celebrated Contributor
Negotiations happen long before price comes up. The prospect(s) are trying to figure out if youโ€™re a push over and if they can get a deal because youโ€™re unprepared or desperate for a deal. They know long before itโ€™s time to discuss the contract if theyโ€™re gonna be able to push you down or pay the sticker price. Discovery is key. Otherwise youโ€™re negotiating against yourself, discounting your own product & devaluing yourself.
Account executive
Many people (especially managers) seem to think that selling is closing, i.e. negotiating and closing the deal.

I have honestly always thought that selling is opening, i.e. how you open the dialog, connect with the customer, understand and address their need is truly selling. If you do that right, the rest is just a relatively simple process.

Yes, you have to set next steps and get the right departments involved, but all of that really doesn't take that much creativity imho. The real craft of selling takes place in the beginning of the encounter.

Yet, almost all training I have ever participated in focusses on the process and closing part or product training. My assumption is that its because most sales trainers don't have a clue about the opening part.
SaaS Eater
Interesting to hear you think managers drive the closing over disco narrative more than AEs.ย 

I personally have spent probably 5x the time training my team for disco and qualification vs positioning and closing. Most other managers I have worked with think similarly and are strong performers for it. Maybe its an anomaly but that has been my experience.ย 

Average to underperorming reps however are always asking for the silver bullet to close more effectively and never think to take it back to disco.ย 
Good Citizen
Sales Development Representative
Most sales training is generic and nonspecific, negotiating and closing is a lot more generic than opening. Lot less empty advice they can pass off as legitimate re:opening.
Exec Director, Major Accounts
Depends on how the plan is structured, but yes definitely. My current comp plan is based around acquisition only. No long term relationship, even though they are enterprise level. Come in, close or donโ€™t close, and Iโ€™m gone.ย 

previously it was long term - earn them for life and youโ€™ll see the rewards. I prefer the second as you may spend 2-3-6 months listening and talking. By the time you get to โ€œnegotiationsโ€ theyโ€™re arenโ€™t any. Youโ€™ve hashed it all out.ย 
Many people (especially managers) seem to think that selling is closing, i.e. negotiating and closing the deal.
Good Citizen
Sr. Director of Enterprise Sales
@GlenRoss I agree with you... It's more than just closing & negotiations. Selling is more about the way you position your company, uncover the latent pain points of the customer, build credibility and give him/her a sense that you can make their life easier... Else you are just taking orders, and not selling
Account Executive
Agree 100% and the only thing I would add is discovery doesn't end when negotiating starts. You need to be doing disco consistently through every facet of the deal to ensure there are no hidden allergies, hurdles, blocker, etc. as you get down to signature. Discovery is the lifeblood of every deal from the first outbound to signature (and even post-sig for upsell opps).
Notable Contributor
Director of Business Development
I sell a very complex product with a long sales cycle, I pretty much act like I'm in discovery mode all the time. Otherwise things shift and I'm late to the part still talking about A,B, and C while the CEO has decided they need to focus on C, D, and E. If I just stopped asking questions the first month or so I'd look like the idiot salesperson that thinks all customers are the same and the service sells itself!
SMB can be a complete shit show, but so can Enterprise. They're all their own shit show in their own special little way.
SMB can be a complete shit show, but so can Enterprise. They're all their own shit show in their own special little way.

Everyone wants to be an AE


What if your client wants "companionship"?

What do you do?
34% Politely decline.
29% Tell them you'll look into it.
20% Get online and go shopping.
17% Other, comment below.
35 people voted

We can't demo exactly what the customer wants to see