Negotiating is a function of people and chemistry as the first five of 15 tips discussed. Here are the second five of 15 tips for negotiating large-quantity book sales: 6. Anticipate questions and objections. After several negotiating sessions you will be better prepared for the tough questions that arise unilaterally. These may be about price, quality and delivery. Be prepared to handle those you anticipate as well as those you hear for the first time. Always answer honestly, but in a way that does not reduce your bargaining power. 7. Ask for clarification if necessary. Do not assume you understand the intent of every question you are asked or statements made. If your prospects ask, “How can your proposal lead to a successful conclusion to this promotional campaign?” Ask them how they define success. Is it an increase in sales? Revenue? New customers?
Negotiating a large sale of your books with a professional corporate buyer is not easy, particularly when you are not experienced at dealing with them. The 15 tips described over the next three blog entries will help you navigate the variety of personalities and circumstances with which you will have to deal, now that you have made the transition from publisher to consultant.
For example, some buyers may recognize you negotiating naiveté and try to take advantage of it. They might say, “We may use coffee mugs for this campaign. If you will match the price of the mugs we might do business with you.” Inexperienced authors/consultants may drop their price quickly to get the order. The tips described below will help you turn these tables so you do not leave money on them.
Every negotiation is different. Each has different objectives, people and budgets, so there is no one path on which you travel toward a successful deal. Negotiating is as much an art as it is a science. Certainly there are things that you should and should not do, but knowing when to do which is the key.
Learn to go with your gut feelings. Listen to your intuition and you may find a different path to reach your objective. When issues seem purely economic, a little creativity can break often open deadlocked deals. For example, if you find yourself at odds over the price issue. Look for a different way to find common ground. You might suggest they pay one fixed amount now and a contingent amount later based on future performance.
You will run across varied personalities on your path to negotiating large-quantity sales. Some of these people will have a hidden agenda when dealing openly in front of their colleagues, and they may assume a more confrontational behavior. This may result from a desire to perpetuate -- or establish – a reputation as “playing hardball,” and not compromising easily.
They view a negotiation as a zero-sum pie, i.e. “your gain is my loss.” It’s difficult to work under these conditions because it is not in our best interests to point out another’s irrational bias. Try to manage the tension between cooperative actions needed to create value and competitive ones needed to claim it. In essence, the pie must be both expanded and divided.
Did you know that if you are a professional author, your professional activities can be tax deductible?
The following factors, although not all inclusive, may help you to determine whether your activity is an activity engaged in for profit or a hobby:
Corporate buyers want to solve their problems, not yours. As a consultant, your job is to show them how they can use your content to improve their circumstances in some way. For a marketing director this could be increased sales, revenue or profits. An HR manager may seek a better trained, informed or motivated workforce. Focus on minimizing their troubles as a means to solving your own.
How can you discover their problems? Ask questions about their objectives. What do they want to accomplish with a promotional campaign? What went right (or wrong) with their previous promotional campaigns? One question that can elicit that information is, “If you could wave your magic wand, how would you describe the ultimate sales promotion?”