Transformational Sales Negotiation: How to Make a Difference With and For the Customer

Transformational Sales Negotiation

Joël Le Bon

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January 11, 2017
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If sales is the pinnacle of commercial organizations' activities, then salespeople must be the cornerstone of their success. Organizations' sales revenues rely on two important factors: an ability to connect with customers, and a capacity to make a difference with and for them. To achieve both outcomes, organizations need to leverage their most important asset, namely, their salespeople's negotiation skills. Professional selling tends to be viewed as a process of asking good questions, identifying worrisome problems, and providing solutions to the customer (e.g., the SPIN technique). But in highly competitive markets, where problem-hermetic and price-focused procurement agents purposely view products as commodities, traditional solution-based sales techniques carry some serious limitations. Existing selling techniques rarely integrate three critical, complementary aspects: (1) a salesperson's personal equity, which creates customer trust; (2) a discerning analysis of the compromise in which every customer is placed; and (3) selling techniques that infuse negotiation strategies to inspire change and make a difference with and for customers. In the presence of dispassionate, well-trained professional buyers, obtaining a client to question the status quo and initiate change is the most important and challenging goal salespeople face.

This book therefore extends beyond traditional selling techniques to offer a new approach: Transformational Sales Negotiation. Transformational Sales Negotiation is the ability to lead customer change through the salesperson's own personal equity, combined with the faculty to understand the customer's situational compromise, as well as a means to implement selling techniques that incorporate negotiation methods. The concept of the salesperson's personal equity serves to explain the additional value that successful salespeople carry, beyond that inherent to their products, which enables them to win customer trust. Because customers derive satisfaction from a situational compromise, rather than from the product itself, the book also introduces the satisficing compromise model to dissect the compromise, in which every customer is placed, a sine qua non condition for qualifying the customer's willingness to change and to buy.

Finally, we elaborate sales negotiation strategies blending traditional selling techniques with negotiation and change management methodologies that inspire customers to transition into a new, satisficing compromise. By leveraging the latest research on interpersonal communication, personal selling, negotiation, transformational leadership, buyer behavior, as well as interviews with sales professionals and procurement agents, this book offers new principles and a new perspective on professional selling.


Joël Le Bon

Joël Le Bon

Joël Le Bon is a marketing professor at the University of Houston C.T. Bauer College of Business and director of executive education for the Sales Excellence Institute. He received a Bachelor of Arts in management science, a Master of Science in marketing and strategy, and a PhD in marketing from the University of Paris Dauphine. He is also an alumnus of the Kellogg ITP program of Northwestern University and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Pennsylvania State University within the Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM).

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