Every decision maker can be considered as a fraction. The denominator is always the same: common needs and aspirations. Every numerator, though, is exceptional; numerators are composed of individual differences. In order to penetrate a customer organization, you have to analyze what is individual as well as what is common. This can be done by answering two questions: "Who are the decision makers I can partner with?" "Who are the decision makers I will have difficulty partnering with?"
There are six types of decision makers who have high partnering potential. Figure 5-1 summarizes their principal characteristics and most probable negotiating modes.
Rational, formal, impersonal, disciplined, jealous of rights and prerogatives of office, well-versed in organizational politics.
Follows rules; stickler for compliance; more concerned with tasks than with people; logical strategist (but can be a nitpicker); predictable negotiator.
Competent loner, impatient, outspoken, a nuisance to bureaucrats, insensitive to others, minimal political skills.
Devoted to good of organization; aggressive and domineering negotiator; blunt and direct; totally task-oriented.
Dominant but not domineering, directive but permits freedom, consultative but not participative, sizes up people well but relates only on a surface level, cordial but at arm's length.
Organization-oriented; high task concentration; assertive negotiator; adroit strategist; flexible and resourceful.
Egalitarian, supportive, participative, excellent interpersonal skills, a born team builder, a catalyst who is adept at unifying conflicting values.
Shares leadership; permits freedom of decisions and delegates authority; welcomes ideas; open and honest negotiator who seeks win-win relationships.
Fast-moving, flexible, upward- moving, impersonal, risk taker, one convinced that winning is everything, innovative, opportunistic but ethical, plays the game fairly but will give nothing away.
Wants to win every negotiation; enjoys competition of ideas, jockeying for position, and maneuvers of the mind; sharp, skilled, and tough negotiator; can be a win-win strategist.
Paternalistic, patronizing, closed to new ideas that are not invented here, not consultative or participative, but partnerable on own terms.
Binds people emotionally; rules from position of authority; makes pronouncements of policy; a sharp trader who negotiates on a tit-for-tat basis.
There are six types of decision makers who have low partnering potential. Figure 5-2 summarizes their principal characteristics and most probable negotiating modes.
Self-oriented, shrewd, devious, and calculating, insightful into weaknesses of others, opportunistic, suave and charismatic, can turn in an instant from collaboration to aggression.
An exploiter of people; cooperates only for selfish interests; totally impersonal negotiator, unmoved by human appeals; will win as inexpensively as possible, but will win at all costs.
Smoother of conflict, blender of ideas, must be liked, identifies harmony with acceptance, highly subjective and personal.
A seeker of compromise and leveler of ideas to lowest common denominator; negotiates emotionally with personal appeals to agree for own sake.
Arrogant, what's-in-it-for-me attitude, coercive, domineering, rigid, prejudiced, takes advantage of weakness, makes snap judgments, unswayed by evidence.
Exerts constrictive personal control over negotiation; makes others vulnerable by using pressure and fear to get own way; demands subservience; sees others as obstacles to be overcome.
Striving, driving, smooth and polished demeanor that masks aggression, opportunistic, without loyalty to others, goes with flow.
Excellent politician; uses self-propelling change to call attention to self; always thinking ahead; self-serving negotiator based on what-will-this-do-for-me?
Defends status quo, resists change, favors evolutionary improvement, uses the system skillfully to safeguard personal position and prerogatives.
Imposes own sense of order and nonimmediacy on negotiation; slows everything down; preaches traditional values; defensively blocks innovation and undermines agreements before implementation.
Superficially friendly to new ideas but essentially a nondoer, effusive, socially skilled and politically skillful, superior survival instincts.
Overreactive and overstimulated by everything but impressed by little; promises support but then fades away; endorses only sure things that can do some personal good; never takes risks.
Consultative Selling enables sustainable commercial relationships. As long as a customer manager's profit contribution is being improved by a consultative seller, they can continue to grow each other as "partners in profits."
Consultative sellers do not make calls. They make projects that can migrate from one profit contribution to the next so that the seller's initial cost of sale is amortized over infinity. Nor do consultative sellers transact business through finite, sporadic engagements. Instead, they become partners in perpetuity. As long as managers have a line of business or a business function to run, their profit contributions are always susceptible to improvement, just as their KPIs are always made more stringent and less readily achievable.
The traditional product vendor skills of maximizing the number of calls per day in order to sell something to everybody have no place in Consultative Selling. The same is true for the service vendor skills of selling finite engagements whose termination, no matter how successful, more often than not leaves their vendors back where they were: on the street to start all over again.
The selling in Consultative Selling should take place once, at the beginning of each partnership, when PIP number one must be agreed on. From then on, the principle of capital turnover should act as the flywheel of each relationship so that its cash flow never stops. The benefits of continuity of turnover—PIP turnover, customer capital turnover, and the seller's turnover of customer investments—compose the added values of partnering. Once a partnership gets up to speed, the seller's cost of sales and sales cycle time should approximate zero. So should the customer partner's cost of acquiring new profit opportunities from the seller.
Partners who are brought together by Consultative Selling gain new money together. But that is not all. They also gain in the time value of their new cash flows. Funds can be earned or saved faster. They can be reinvested faster. There are more funds to reinvest each period because they become available sooner. This is where the payoff of Consultative Selling comes from.