Episode #139: James Muir

Negotiate With Genuine Intent


James Muir

James Muir is the founder and CEO of Best Practice International and the bestselling author of the number one book on “Closing Sales – The Perfect Close”. James is a thirty year veteran of Sales, having served in every role from individual contributor to executive VP. His mission is to make the complex simple. James has an extensive background in healthcare, where he has sold to and spoken for the largest names in technology and healthcare , including HCA, Tenet, Catholic Health Care, Banner, Dell, IBM and many others. Not only is James a life long student of Sales, he is also an accomplished guitarist, organic chemistry fan and fitness buff. Those interested in learning a method of closing that has zero pressure involves just two questions and is successful 95% of the time can reach him at puremuir.com.

[01.36] James defines Negotiation – as nothing more than just facilitating win-win arrangements. It’s understanding things well enough, that you can craft things so that everybody wins.

[02.02] James explains how negotiation is important for business – negotiation is important for business because any deal that is not a win-win will quickly deteriorate into a lose-lose deal. If you win but the customer loses, that will eventually turn into a nightmare for the client and will in return make life hard for you. And on the flip side, if the customer wins and the company loses, this scenario is unsustainable for the company and will force them out of business and will end up being a lose-lose situation. The only acceptable outcome is a win-win.

[02.45] Why don’t some salespeople don’t like to negotiate and what can we do to change this – James feels that sale people generally don’t like negotiating, usually for two reasons. 1 – they tend to be pleasers, so they would rather give the farm away rather than learn negotiating techniques and secondly traditional negotiating does have a lot of technique and nuance to it, which makes it hard to learn, so it’s easier to give in rather than learn!

[03.26] How do you plan and execute a high stakes negotiation – James agrees that traditional negotiating has too much nuance and technique to it. James feels that it is important to genuinely understand the customer’s business and your own business and what they are trying to do, also to know what you can do and still be able to make a profit. When you fully understand each others perspective you can usually create a win-win scenario, negotiating becomes dysfunctional when you don’t understand your customer or when you don’t know what you can do to maintain a profit. It is important to develop the understanding of your customer and know your capabilities at the discovery and the middle part of the sales process as you are crafting a solution for your customer.

[05.07] What are the attributes of a good sales negotiator – James believes that it is all down to mindset. If you generally want to create a win-win in every negotiation, that mindset itself will take care of everything else. The mindset will lead you to understand the dynamics that you and your client have and creativity will spring naturally from there.

[06.27] James shares his top negotiation tools and strategies – James tries to avoid using strategies and tools to negotiate instead James discusses how if you are negotiating correctly it should feel like problem solving. The problem you are solving is working out which is the best way for the customer to invest in your solution. However, you should pre-plan your strategy and initial discovery before hand to understand what creates a win for the way your customer wants to buy, understand their constraints, their drivers, their goals and also know what you, the sales person can do and what your company has the ability to do whilst still maintaining a profit. This will create flexibility in the moment and will help to create a deal that’s a win -win.

[08.40] James shares his top three negotiation Do’s and Don’ts – absolutely do understand your client’s goal, know what’s driving that goal, this will give you an advantage to presenting multiple ways to addressing their challenges. Absolutely do know what you can and can’t do and still maintain a profit, know where you have to draw the line and last do is to commit to a win-win or no deal, if you are genuinely committed to this, every deal will turn be successful. Don’t use any tricks or manipulation in any way, clients will smell your intentions a mile away and negotiation will become dysfunctional and will start to withhold information from you. If you don’t really know what you can to and still maintain a profit then don’t negotiate and last don’t…. don’t ever negotiate without putting your intention on the table – always communicate that you genuinely want them to achieve their desired results and that you are willing to help them do that within the confines of good business.

[10.58] James shares his favourite negotiation story –James tells a story when he was working as part of a negotiation team to negotiate a deal for physicians with a hospital in the U.S. A client had hired a consulting team as well as a top gun attorney to secure a deal with the hospital. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the legal terms and overall investment for the solution. Two days had been scheduled for the meeting to take place, but because James and his team had a very good clear understanding of what the executives and community wanted and what they were trying to do, they were able to successfully achieve a win-win deal within a few hours.

More About James

What was the last book you read?
Marketing to Mindstates by Will Leach

Who / What inspires you?
I somehow find inspiration in everything. Everyone I meet has some amazing gift. I’m inspired by thought leaders, those who have achieved much, mothers, fathers and those who have endured great challenges. I’m also inspired by the divine engineering evidenced in nature, our oceans the universe beyond our earth and the amazing microcosm of organic chemistry. I’m inspired by God our creator.

What aspect of your own Social Media are you most focused on improving at the moment?
Video. Video is where it’s at. YouTube specifically and the sharing of videos on all the social platforms

Hobbies, Interests?
I am a fitness buff. I play guitar. I love martial arts and I love organic chemistry.

How can our listeners contact with you?
The best way to contact me is to go to my website www.PureMuir.com and request to receive my newsletter where I share my latest and greatest first.