Deal Transparency is the Greatest Negotiation Tactic

Some deals can be quite challenging to get done.
There are a number of factors that lead to deals becoming challenging; there’s the financial reasons like budgets and perception of value, rising costs and total costs of ownership. There is public knowledge – we live in an information age where it’s relatively easy to price shop or learn more information about the pricing and results of products and services. There’s also ego – a lot of folks pride themselves as tough negotiators and they are intentionally focused on maintaining that reputation. I can tell you, having at various points in my career both being on point negotiating deals or getting called in to help get deals done, that I have found success by adhering to one defining principle: deal transparency.
Customers know that you are in sales. There is occasionally, deserved or not, a stigma attached to the salesperson, which leads customers to believe that you are not taking their best interests into consideration on your side of the negotiating table. Change that opinion. Take the same approach in negotiating a deal as you would and should with any attempt you are making to partner, for discovery, and for other stages of your selling process – truly listen, understand where they are coming from and what they need, and give them a look behind the curtain of how the deal works from your end.
It has helped me tremendously to share with clients “These are the factors that come into play when we are seeking some type of incentive.” There are often numerous types of incentives and resources that you can bring to the table – it’s imperative to outline all of the value included in your offering that is pertinent to the discussion, the additional pieces that are included as part of their investment, the things you can do or are willing to do for them because of the potential investment, and the “secret sauce” – it is not appropriate to tell them every detail of how much discounting you think you can get for them or how that’s factored in, but you can absolutely share with them some of the criteria taken into consideration as the deal is crafted and the discount is sought and settled upon.
The “bundle” is an extremely prevalent concept in today’s selling market. It’s frequent that an organization will bundle its offerings in an attempt to entice via additional value and reduced costs. So apply the same concept in crafting your deal, even if a bundle does not necessarily exist, and honor the “holy sales trinity” – the customer, your company, and you. All three entities must benefit from each deal, and the more intentional you are about catering to all three, the more likely the deal is to close and to benefit all parties.
Listen to and understand the challenges your customer has to make this deal. Budget, timeline and working with the true power in the organization – having buy-in – are all critical pieces. Furthermore, know the parameters of your sales metrics that are impacted – what does your company want you to sell? Will creating a “bundle” that speaks to these components enable you to secure greater pricing incentives for the customer? How can you create a deal that enables you to tell a story within your organization to the folks you are selling this deal to (the approvers)?
Know the roadmap for the customer. Where do they want to be? All things aside, what do they want on this deal and for the foreseeable future? Is there a way you can make that reality, sprinkle in the stuff that your company loves and that you guys get paid on, and put a bow on it?
Create an environment that is conducive to partnership. Be flexible. If you take a hard stance on a deal – “Do this, or there’s no deal or discount” you are very likely sending a message that will prevent them from wanting to work with you. But if you proactively tell them, “Hey, I hear your concerns about budget. I understand your timeline. This is where my company is coming from – we want to incentivize you to invest in this piece or this piece, and we’re willing to partner with you and involve resources from our organization to help you on that planning and execution. I propose we include these pieces you absolutely want and we find some areas we can include that my company is most inclined to incentivize, and I can socialize that story internally to optimize your discount.”
Everybody has to leave the deal feeling some satisfaction. We all need a win. Few deals are going to leave everyone 100% satisfied, but if we are fully cognizant of where our customers’ priorities and positions lie and we marry that to our organization’s needs and our payout wants, we can very truly find balance that works for all. I will absolutely give deal transparency to clients so they truly understand what it takes to get the best deal possible amidst the guidelines and parameters my business is operating on. It fosters trust, partnership and it will give you the highest probability of getting the deal done. Your clients want to work with people they can trust, and transparency in the business can be a great investment into your relationships that pays huge dividends in many ways for years to come.
Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.
Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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