Episode #340: Kristie Jones

Flexibility in Negotiation is Key


Kristie Jones

Kristie is the go-to expert for SaaS Founders wanting to build or scale their Sales and Customer Success teams. After 15+ years as a sales leader in the SaaS space, she founded Sales Acceleration Group in 2016 to help other SaaS companies build, grow, and scale their Sales and Customer Success teams to increase revenue, reduce churn, and scale more quickly.  Her willingness to get her hands dirty and her “take no prisoners” approach when helping companies with everything from sales process and strategy to hiring and training Sales and Customer Success Reps. is what makes her so valuable to her clients.  

Our Mission Is To Change The Negative Perception Of Sales People

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As a sales leader, you want to prepare for every step of the process. Because negotiation is so far down the sales funnel, it would be a shame to be unprepared and lose a deal because you weren’t prepared. Preparation allows you to think strategically. It also makes you look professional. Someone’s business was important enough for you to take the time to prepare. So how do you prepare strategically? And what does it take to have a successful negotiation? Learn more from Kristie Jones in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:58] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
  • [2:08] The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation
  • [4:28] The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner
  • [6:50] Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes
  • [8:49] Kristie’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
  • [11:42] You have to remain flexible in your negotiation preparation

The key steps a salesperson should take to prepare for negotiation

When Kristie is talking to a sales leader, she has them focus on two things:

  • Do your salespeople understand the give/gets? Do they know where they have negotiation power? What is open for negotiation?
  • What is the cost of no agreement for either side? What will you lose—quota, commission? What will the other side lose? Maybe they need to find a new vendor or service. Maybe it’ll impact their career track. 

You need to write down these things. When sales reps do this, they’ll see that they’re on a more level playing field. 

The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner

If you’ve forged a relationship with a prospect or customer, you should understand their non-negotiables and where their buying power is. You want to make sure you fully understand their position. What are their concerns or problems? Look at contract language, pricing, timing, etc. Everything can be part of the negotiation. 

Self-awareness is also important. If you know you’re meeting with an introverted procurement person, you may have to slow down and focus on details. You need to understand yourself and how you come across. Once you do that, you can adjust your communication style to fit the other party.

Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes

Kristie asks people to sit down and draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and write down the costs of no agreements. She also has them write down what they’re willing to give to get what they want. So when a negotiation gets stressful, they can have their cheat sheets in front of them. Because when tensions rise and the stakes are high, people start to panic, which leads to bad decisions. 

You have to remain flexible in your negotiation

Kristie is dating someone who lives in another state and works where she lives. She knew that spending New Year’s Eve together would be a challenge. But it was important to her. So three months ahead of the holiday, she shared she wanted to spend those days together. She wanted to kick back and watch football together the next day. It was a non-negotiable for her. She gave plenty of notice that the non-negotiable existed.

As the time got closer, and she knew that the negotiation would have to begin, Kristie sat down with him to go over her give/gets. She had them prepared in her head. She brought the topic up at a time she thought was appropriate. She asked what the plans were.

He shared the challenges he was facing, which she had already anticipated. So she shared some viable options:

  • She’d travel to his city (as opposed to him coming to her)
  • She’d give him time with the children and get a hotel room
  • She’d delay the start of New Year’s Eve

Negotiation is a process, not an event. She gave him time to think about what might work. Then they’d get back together and formulate a plan. They ended up deciding that he’d spend New Year’s Eve Day with the kids and spend the rest of the weekend with her. Everyone was willing to give a little to get a little. 

But what happened next? Listen to the whole episode to find out why flexibility in any negotiation is key.

Connect with Kristie Jones

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Learn More About Kristie Jones

Are there any books on or including Storytelling that you recommend? No, I don’t have any recommendations. 

In the field of Business Story Telling – Who do you most admire and why? Chris Voss, author of Never Split the Difference, is a great storyteller, and if I was the lead hostage negotiator for the FBI I think I’d have great stories to tell too! 

Are there any aspects of your own Story Telling skills that you are working on improving at the moment? Yes, brevity is the current work in storytelling progress.

Hobbies, Interests? I play tennis on a USTA tennis team, do OrangeTheory twice a week, love a good glass of wine on the deck, and I’m enjoying traveling again! 

How can our listeners contact with you? Please connect with me on LinkedIn and check out my blog and resources page on salesaccelerationgroup.com

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