How to accelerate B2B negotiations with Give-Gets

Written by Tracy Dent

The negotiation table is a lawless place. You never know what will happen when the first number comes out, or the counteroffer, and so on. We recently had a partner tell us the discounting in their sales team ranged from 0-90%. 

Who can blame them? Buyers come to the table expecting discounts, and often after months or years of receiving them, it's a valid assumption to walk in with. Going into your next negotiation, make sure you're prepared with a solution.

Taking back control of the negotiation

If you’ve seen the classic HBO show from the early 2000s Entourage, you may remember the legendary Terence McQuewick barking, “Control is a funny thing, isn't it? You don't realize how little of it you have until you actually have none of it at all.”

Negotiations can be like that for a lot of sellers. It's important to go in with a clear (simple) plan. One strategy is to include options or trade-offs of products/services, based on the value provided to the buyer. We call them Give-Gets.

Give-Gets serve as built-in "If/Then" scenarios that will go a long way and save a substantial amount of time in the process. You've already done the thinking and math to provide the best option depending on the buyer’s priorities. (Cost? Delivery speed? Best-of-the-best material?) When they ask for a discount, you’ve got a different option. 

How it works

Look at the value your products/services provide, and group them based on that value. Not all customers will need the top-tier solution, and you may save customers from leaving by offering this lower value, lower cost solution. It also gives you a strategy for when you find yourself down the slippery slope of discounting. While the low-value solution is less profitable, having this option adds to your overall profitability by avoiding discounting and protecting you from losing customers to “ankle biter” competitors.

Keep in mind, you must create strong fences between the offerings. Make sure they are clearly differentiated in the value they provide (and have clear calculations for each!). It’s important to still maintain the integrity of your high-value, premium solutions for your customers who prioritize that option.

Some examples of Give-Get tiers could be:

  • Lead time (Available today vs future date)
  • Level of service (experience and/or seniority of the team)
  • Availability of resources (Access to more data, but for a discrete window of time)

Cutting through the noise

Help buyers make better choices based on what is most important to them, by giving them good (and simple!) choices to consider. Make your Give-Gets recommendations based on your understanding of what is most important to them. 

With the poker players out there, Give-Gets expose the bluff. You’ll find out their true agenda and what matters most to them. The seller can protect the integrity of their margins, while the buyer gets optionality. In many cases, we see buyers enter at a lower tiered offer, grow trust within the partnership, and end up expanding contracts as they experience the value being provided.

Change the conversation in your negotiations. It doesn’t have to be a discounting race to the bottom.