“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that o others, without fearing it.”
— Thomas Jefferson
When you go to an auto parts store, a mechanic, a roofer, an electrician or a plumber, what knowledge do you bring to the table? When the roofer tells you he’s going to need to use a 3×5 ratio on the shingles at a 14 cm grade with copper lined siding and titanium dry in, or when the plumber says it’ll cost X amount to run the sewer drainage test as well as the leak test for your bathroom vents, do you know what the heck they are talking about? I hope not, since I made all of that up. You are at the mercy of the experts and when they spout jargon at you and you nod along, you are not judging what they say, but how they say it. You are judging their trustworthiness and the legitimacy of the expertise they are exhibiting. There is not difference between you as a seller and that plumber, electrician, roofer or mechanic. Your experience and expertise are your personal differentiators.
On February 4, 1805 Meriwether Lewis noted that his expedition was on the verge of running out of meat. Turning to Private John Shields, he sought help. Shields was a skilled black- smith and mended equipment primarily. But his source of income had run out. Everything had been repaired. He needed a new product and settled on battle axes for the Native Americans. They were skilled trader’s who drove hard bargains but because of Shield’s skill at metal working he knew he was at an advantage. A price was set, 8 gallons of corn per axe, a great bargain for the expeditioners. His experience and expertise helped them to sell at a premium, staving off disaster for Lewis and Clark.
Experience & Expertise build power. A negotiator’s knowledge, proficiency, background, experience and expertise add credibility, believability and legitimacy to the proposed solution.
Sellers build this power by communicating personal, corporate, product, process and/or industry experience and expertise. They purposefully inject the words, “experience and expertise” into their sales and negotiation vernacular. To be clear, you are not trying to muddy the water or “Salt and Pepper” the negotiation by confusing the buyer. You are an educator, not a charlatan.
Experience and expertise have an almost magical effect on negotiations. When a buyer is faced with a sales person who shows great integrity and a vast knowledge of their product or service, that buyer is viewed as leagues above the competition in trustworthiness and capability. Never underestimate how your knowledge can affect a buyers decision making.
In some cases, buyers are not aware of just how serious their problem is, or the available solutions. All they see are price tags and if you have not versed yourself in the knowledge, language and past experience of clients you will not be able to adequately explain to them why they should choose you over a competitor. You can’t even begin to differentiate yourself because only an expert would truly understand what a differentiating factor would be! By communicating your experience and expertise you communicate your objectivity as a seller and the legitimacy of your proposed solution. When this is done correctly, you will be surprised at how less likely a buyer is to make cost related or price reduction demands.