Episode #338 – Lisa McLeod

Why You Must Identify Your Counterpart’s Highest-Level Solution


Lisa McLeod

Lisa McLeod is the author of Selling with Noble PurposeHow to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud. She works with sales teams at organizations like LinkedIn and Hilton to increase competitive differentiation and emotional engagement. 

Our Mission Is To Change The Negative Perception Of Sales People

Our Vision Is A World Where Selling Is A Profession To Be Proud Of

Why do you need to plan for a negotiation? So you can identify your counterpart’s highest-level solution. What are their goals and aspirations for their company? How can your product or services help them achieve their goal? In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Lisa McLeod shares why it’s important to focus on your counterpart’s highest-level solution—and how to do it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [1:42] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [4:00] Why you need to identify your counterpart’s highest-level solution
  • [5:45] The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator
  • [8:06] Tools and resources to improve negotiation outcomes
  • [9:38] Lisa’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [13:44] Why you should offer more value instead of lowering your price

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

If you’re planning a high-stakes negotiation, there are three things Lisa believes you need to do:

  • Take a deep breath: That floods oxygen to your brain and helps calm your flight or flight response.
  • Detach your solution from your aspiration: You aspire to use your offering to help the other side. Fear-based energy is not what you want in the negotiation.
  • Identify their highest-level solution: It’s not about saving money or terms of services. It’s what impact they’re trying to have in their organization.

It’s easier to do this in the planning stage versus when you’re in front of your potential client.

Why you need to identify your counterpart’s highest-level solution

If you’re dealing with a buyer that says “We have to get this pricing on these terms,” it’s likely what they’ve been told to do. You want to ask them why. What are they trying to accomplish by doing that? They’ll share what their goals are. That becomes your starting point—not pricing, terms, and conditions.

You want to start from a place of strength, which is the impact your solution is going to have on their business or life. It’s not about dominating them. It’s a shared stronger place to start. Start from a place of shared aspiration.

The attributes or characteristics that make a great sales negotiator

Salespeople need to be open to what the client says or is trying to achieve. The most successful salespeople have a laser-like focus. If you’ve ever been in a conversation with a loved one and they’re not going to concede, it exudes a certain energy. You either cave to that energy or push against it. Openness creates openness.

The other thing that makes a salesperson great at negotiation is their depth of understanding of the client. A seller that only understands their product, software, consulting services, etc., and doesn’t care about what’s happening with the client is coming from a weak position. When you understand what they’re trying to achieve and how they measure success, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. Your understanding makes you a better ally and partner.

Tools and resources to improve negotiation outcomes

Lisa emphasizes that your client’s website is the #1 tool you can leverage. Why? You can read their “about me” page, read what their CEO said, etc. It allows you to learn the language of the company so you can use it. Which sounds better?

“I’m so excited to talk to you about our software, we’ve got all these bells and whistles, it’s gonna be great for you—let’s get into the negotiation.”


“I read online that your CEO says that your #1 goal is to improve your customer experience. I’m delighted that we’re having this conversation today because this software is going to play a role in helping you accomplish that.”

What are Lisa’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts? Why should you avoid caving on your prices? Listen to the whole episode to learn more!

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

Learn More About Lisa McLeod

Are there any books on or including Negotiation Planning that you recommend? Selling with Noble Purpose has a chapter devoted to negotiation, LinkedIn Learning course on Sales Negotiation,  and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

In the field of Negotiation and Negotiation Planning – Who do you most admire and why? Greg Hartley, former US Army interrogator who can read body language like a book.

Are there any aspects of your own Negotiation Planning skills that you are working on improving at the moment? Working on learning when to walk away.

Hobbies, Interests? Water skiing – I’m the only middle aged mama on my lake doing the slalom ski. Movies – I love the theater experience, as in leaving the house, getting popcorn, and settling into a dark room with strangers for a shared emotional experience. I’ve also been know to spend an entire Saturday in bed watching Netflix. My main interest is people, who they are, how they think, and why they do the things they do. Movies are a great window into human emotions. 

How can our listeners contact with you? Follow me on LinkedIn

by | Feb 22, 2023 | Sales Reinvented Podcast

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