Five Steps To Yes

Selling is a key leadership skill, because it is about influencing someone to willingly take action on what you suggest, in such a way they think it’s of their own choice.

Getting a “YES” to your offer requires you engage in a dialogue with your prospect, with the intent to communicate your values, your intentions and your expectations, while understanding the values, intentions and expectations of the other party.

Here are five questions for you to consider as you propose you strive to reach a mutually profitable agreement:

1. What do I want?

  • It is only when I know what I want that I can make a clear offer.
  • What is the end result that I want for myself? For my prospect?
  • Why is this important to me?
  • Am I “selling” or “sharing”: am I offering out of need or out of generosity? Do I need you more than you need me? A offer out of generosity is much more attractive to the other party, than an offer that comes from a place of desperation.
  • What do I lose if we don’t reach an agreement?
  • What my “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement” (BATNA)?  If you look at it from the simplest standpoint, your BATNA is the choice you can make if you conclude that negotiating is not likely to yield a satisfactory result. You can walk away from a negotiation if your BATNA is better than the likely outcome of that negotiation. BATNAs are dynamic, depending on the status of the discussion (as opposed to a “bottom-line” offer). The key to staying “in control” of a negotiation is to always have a BATNA in the back of your mind. Prepare a series of BATNAs depending on how the discussion evolves.

2. What do you want?

  • By listening I can find out what you want and need, then present my offer as a way to meet that need.
  • What do you need most?
  • Why is your need important to you?
  • How does your need fit into what I have to offer?

3. How ready are you to commit to get what you say you want?

  • What are you willing to commit to get what you say you want?
  • How can I connect what I am offering, in such a way as to meet your greatest need?
  • Is it right time, right fit, right place for you to say YES?
  • What is the benefit for you to say YES now?

4. What is in the way of you saying yes?

  • What reasons are in the way? (don’t have enough time, energy, money)
  • Addressing Objections: FEEL, FELT, FOUND
  • I understand how you feel
  • This is how others felt
  • I have found that…
  • How can we modify the offer so it meets your greatest need while respecting my needs?

5. What is the action step we can each take, together?

  • Build trust through a mutual commitment
  • Tangible action step with a timeline (more information, more confirmation, more investigation)
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up!

The key to YES is to give the other person time and room to reach their own decision. “No” simply means they haven’t yet made their own alignment with what you have to offer.

Share your offer, then guide them to see the benefit to them… and you will eventually get your YES!

For more information

I was first introduced to the idea of the “BATNA” in the book by Roger Fisher and William Ury,
“Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”
Wikipedia summary:
Kindle Highlights:

Wikipedia article on “BATNA”:

Image: Michelle Thompson “(michelle)” on Flickr
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Used under Creative Commons 2.0 licence

Originally written November 23, 2010