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John Barrows Sales Hacks from Sales Hacker Conference in San Francisco

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of attending the Sales Hacker Conference in San Francisco. I took a fair amount of notes from each speaker. This article marks the first in a series of blogs I'll write to share my notes with the sales nation out there.

Sales Hacker Speaker: John Barrows
Topic: The Gives/Gets of Negotiations
Who is John Barrows?

John is one of the best tech-company sales trainers on the planet. He has trained some of the most successful sales teams that exist (, LinkedIn, Zendesk, Box, etc.). Outside of the conference I asked some people I knew at these companies what he was like and the overwhelming response was that he really, really knows what he's talking about.

My Notes
  1. How do you respond to a prospect request? “I am happy to do that. In order to get you exactly what you want, we are going to need ____ (corresponding to GET or GETs)." A key to negotiating effectively is to maintain a level of equal power / respect. His idea here is a slick one that allows you to maintain that balance while also actually getting the information you'll need to effectively give the prospect what they are asking for.
  2. Build a give and get score card. Brainstorm everything a potential client can ask for. Prioritize your list. One is the easiest to give away (information), 20 is the most difficult (discount). Prioritize GETS based on where you are in the process.
  3. How do you respond to the pricing question? The truth is that most salespeople either do or don't, there isn't much middle ground. John suggests to make it fluid If you don't have much practice in real-life, scenario practice until you are comfortable. For example, if someone asks what your pricing is, respond by asking "well how many users are we talking about?"
  4. How do you respond to a question about competitive differentiators? Don’t just go into a canned response. Ask who they are considering.
  5. Most important thing to get off the call is a defined next step. When do you want to schedule a call? Next week. When next week? Get a call on the calendar.
  6. Send a summary email after your call. Summarize the call and ask, "can you do me a favor and take a look at it and LMK if it looks right." This gives you leverage to call out the prospect later if you have to. 
  7. How to respond if push back on timeline from prospect? Ask for internal referral. Otherwise, send calendar and ask to forward it to anyone else who should be on the call so it’s on their calendar. 
  8. What if you have a deal and then procurement pushes back on the price of the deal? Before connecting with procurement, ask your point person, "if procurement pushes me over the line can I bring you back in?"

For a play-by-play of the presentation, view the overview on the Sales Hacker site (my notes are purely my own). 

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