Recently, I was asked by Fortune 500 company about my ideas on "adult learning" and how to teach negotiation to their sales teams. And the franchise complex sale is a negotiation, especially when the legal product -the franchise agreement- is not negotiable.
This was a very serious question, and it was an exciting opportunity for me to make a real difference to the organization -if the setup was right. Organizations come down with enthusiams, which lack weight and the project leader is moved on to something new and shiny.
Sadly, for both of us, the main pre-requisite for continuous learning of negotiation in a sales environment was not in place. When I learned of this, my visible enthusiasm for the project waned - perhaps at a later date, I thought.
What was this company missing?
It is useful to recall what Peter Drucker said about continuous learning in a corporation.
Feed back from the results of a decision compared against the expectations when it was made makes the even the moderately endowed executives into competent decisions makers.
So, how do we get continuous learning in sales or negotiation? (Without continuous learning, "training", "CRM software", and "best practices"are just words.)
One way to improve the organization's negotiation capacity - to turn a "moderately endowed sales team into a competent & professional negotiating force"- is to insist on a standard of recording expected versus actual results.
Every sales professional and some negotiators are familiar with the idea of a sales as a process, a sales funnel, which moves the prospective buyer from interest, to enagement, and through the sales door and off to customer service.
A sales funnel consists of discrete steps or stages. At any stage, a modern CRM should be able to predict based upon recorded historical results the chances that this buyer at this stage will result in a sale, and when that sale will likely occur. It is just a numbers game - with the right funnel.
The map of expected to actual is called "efficient" when it is roughly equal to line x=y; if we predict rain 14% of the time and 14 times out of 100 it rains, our prediction is efficient.
Most of our forecasts and processes remain stubbornly and wildly inefficient for the want of recording our intitial expectations and matching them up with the actual results.
Consider the salutory effect of your entire sales team recording, comparing, and then modifying your firm's CRM to make it more efficient, in the sense just described.
Even the most moderately endowed sales team could be turned into a a competent & professional negotiation force within several years. (If you only had a standard CRM, a negotiating brain.)