Negotiate successfully: with your back to the wall


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In theory, annual discussions in the trade are quite simple: Among other things, sales targets, conditions and sales promotion measures are discussed. The result is a framework agreement. The practice looks different.Anxiety

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Kurt-Georg Scheible 48Kurt-Georg Scheible is an entrepreneur, consultant, coach and speaker.

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The pure horror

In practice, however, such an annual conversation is war and terror (original sound of a key account manager for trading). A good example of how you can still win with your back to the wall.

Because annual discussions in retail are pure horror for many. Google finds around 63.900 terms in “Annual Talk Trade” and throws out countless seminars for key account managers and salespeople.

Go back to war every year

How must a person feel who has to go to war regularly every autumn and is exposed to the purest terror. Not somewhere in one of the crisis areas, but in the middle of Germany. Who has to choose between exit now (keep prices stable) or exit later ("adjust prices" and lose margin again)?

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Sometimes everything happens very fast. Like last December. Six hours, the key account manager arrived for the annual meeting. Normally, the appointment lasts one to one and a half hours. But this time he sat in 22 minutes back in the car in the direction of home. Without orders. The had from 1. January another.

Out and about?

"Everything has already been discussed and initiated," the buyer had told him. And "I'm sorry" and smiled so funny. Was it because he got the job from Manager of the buyer against his will. Because then he had to do all the work and it turned out to be the right decision in the last seven years.

With sales and profit increases of more than 30 percent. Was it that the previous supplier now struck back because he had learned to be "fed" with first-hand information by the buyer in recent years. How should this gap be closed so quickly?

You can only win!

Questions about questions that torched the key account manager in the long hours on the highway during the return journey. It was mid-December, in less than three weeks, the unwanted stock should be removed from the customer's stores and the shelves should be expanded.

On the way back, he realized that he had already lost the orders. From now on he can only win. Before his mind's eye, the image of the hero of a film seen before ancient times and long forgotten. The stand with the back to the wall and there was only one free direction. To the front, with full risk.

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How does the other tick?

So the key account manager has still called from the road his already retired predecessor and former boss, Mr. Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt knew the senior manager and founder of the company of the customer, Mr. Huber, from before.

Schmidt was able to describe our key account manager quite well, as Mr. Huber ticks. What he likes, what values ​​he has, what he is proud of and what is important to him.

Escape to the front!

The next day our key accont manager wrote a letter. Directly addressed to Mr. Huber, the Seniorchef and a greeting from Mr. Schmidt. The letter then contained all the facts since the beginning of the partnership. The whole seven years finely listed. How it all began, how it developed, what had been done and what the company of Mr. Huber got from it.

And the most important thing, he wrote it without anger and annoyance - and above all without being subdued. Because, the missions he had already lost. He has instead addressed the values ​​of Mr. Huber and the motives that have driven him over and over again in the many years of his entrepreneurship. Material about this our key account manager found abundant on the Internet and in old magazines and business reports.

The nail test

Before sending the letter, he gave it to his former colleague Schmidt. He was to read it, with the eyes of old Huber, and say what would happen if he held the letter in his hands. This is the nail test. The simulation of communication. This, of course, goes with a negotiation, with sales talks, with everything.

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The test was positive. Only a few small corrections had to be made. Most were of a stylistic nature. A few words different, "Denglish" terms replaced by German and then it was good. Schmidt gave his OK and said: "Yes, that fits." In English this means: “That matches.”

Never give up while the ball is still in the game

The letter was given, personally. And then followed a tense wait. Exactly two days. Then the answer was there. The purchaser's decision was withdrawn. From Seniorchef personally.

The old state was restored. Nearly. Because at the opportunity was just the same conditions still talked. But the orders are saved, committed for the next three years.


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  1. Holger Emmrich, LL.M.

    Successful negotiation - 4 / 5: With the back to the wall by Kurt-Georg Scheible - Highly recommended 1cam5RzWR6

  2. Competencepartner

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  3. REGIS GMBH

    Successful negotiation - 4 / 5: With the back to the wall by Kurt-Georg Scheible via BERUFEBILDER - Highly recommended LCGbBAldoE

  4. Thomas Eggert

    Successful negotiation - 4 / 5: With the back to the wall by Kurt-Georg Scheible via BERUFEBILDER - Highly recommended bNtEdLsQK8

  5. Negotiating in order to win: success is not a fortune CHARACTER PICTURES

    [...] For the previous article comes the right book - by BERUFEBILDE R author Kurt-Georg Schaible. [...]

  6. Kurt-Georg Scheible

    Annual talks in trade are the horror. This is true negotiation with the back to the wall. Escape to the front helps .. - Very interesting!4PJCb

  7. Alma Mater

    Win when you've already lost - Part 1: Negotiating with your back to the wall (via @SimoneJanson)

  8. Competencepartner

    Winning when you've already lost - Part 1: Negotiating with your back to the wall: I ...

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