Episode #129: Jeanette Nyden

The Power of Open Ended Questions


Jeanette Nyden

Jeanette Nyden is an internationally recognized contract negotiation expert. She has written and or co-authored three books including “Getting To We”. Jeanette provides tactical customized contract training, coaching and mentoring programs to both sales and purchasing teams. Jeanette has taught at major corporations at Seattle University and at the University of Tennesee’s center for executive education.

[01.04] Jeanette defines Negotiation – in the simplest term as the back and forth communication aimed at reaching an agreement, when some of your interests are shared and some of your interests are opposed.

[01.40] Jeanette explains how negotiation is important for business – because customers and their service providers or vendors have imposing interests, so we have to be able to have the skill set and the competence to reach an agreement when people don’t see eye to eye.

[02.04] Why don’t some salespeople don’t like to negotiate and what can we do to change this – Jeanette feels that some salespeople don’t have a lot of confidence in their ability to navigate those difficult conversations when people don’t see eye to eye. They fear what the other person may do, they may fear what their own internal stake holders may say about the choices that they are making. They want to give in to make nice instead of being able to have those fulsome conversations.

[03.43] How do you plan and execute a high stakes negotiation – Jeanette shares that firstly she has to have the mindset that she wants to have a back and forth conversation, and then ask really good questions. Too many people talk at each other or only ask questions that they already know the answer to. The old adage in sales ‘ABC -Always Be Closing’ doesn’t work in today’s environment due to automated processes, today sales people need to have a more difficult and complex conversation. You need talk about what a master purchasing agreement or master service agreement looks like. So ask open ended questions, without going to the ‘Always Be Closing’, because you don’t know what you are closing and could be setting your organisation up to something it doesn’t want to do or isn’t profitable for them to do.

[05.24] What are the attributes of a good sales negotiator – Jeanette feels that the attributes have changed over the past 10 years with the advent of technology. One of the main attributes is the ability to lead the procurement person through the process and be able to communicate through the procurement person to the stakeholder to the customer’s organisation.

[08.18] Jeanette shares her top three negotiation Do’s and Don’ts – Don’t tell me what the policy is, don’t always be closing and don’t talk at me about what happened in the past. Do ask a lot of open ended questions, do be thoughtful to connect with what the customer is saying to your proposals and last do is to be mindful when using e-mails, sometimes you need to connect using the telephone to communicate counter offers or clear up concerns so that e-mails don’t go off the rails.

[12.06] Jeanette shares her favourite negotiation story – as an external consultant dealing with a highly complex organisation Jeanette shares how after hearing some deal changing news on a current negotiation, she had to re-negotiate the deal within a four month period. By using transparency, a great deal of effort and creativity Jeanette managed to keep the door open for new conversations and managed to secure the hundred million dollar ten year deal.

More About Jeanette

What was the last book you read?
Okay, so I am a complete nerd. I read “Theory of Management of Large Complex Projects” because there is so much to learn about governing large complex contracts and I saw the author speak about managing large complex projects. I wanted to learn more about risks inherent in large projects and how to write better contracts to track and control risks.

Who / What inspires you?
I am deeply committed to empowering people to provide personal value in the contracting process and for customer/supplier relationships to provide value to society at large. By having more collaborative negotiation skills, people can add value personally and can help their organization provide value too.

What aspect of your own Social Selling program are you most focused on improving at the moment?
I am learning to sell a product—an on-line training program– leveraging my Linked In and newsletter contacts. It is a different way of selling for me personally.

Hobbies, Interests?
I love the outdoors! Hiking, backpacking, car camping, bicycling, kayaking in the Pacific Northwest. I am so grateful to live in a place that offers me and my kids lots of opportunities to play outside year round.

How can our listeners contact with you?
My website is www.jnyden.com. I offer a lot of free resources so please check it out. My personal email is jn@jnyden.com Email me with any questions or comments you might have.