Investment in Negotiation Skills at Trucking Company for Bottom Line Results

Business Issue

A highly competitive nationally recognized trucking company made a strategic decision to increase their bottom line by investing in their most valuable commodity, their people.  In order to enhance effectiveness with customers and improve sales results, they decided to transform older traditional business practices into smarter more stream-lined work systems.  The company successfully retrained, re-equipped and differentiated their sales force to elevate them to a higher level of performance and become recognized as a valuable resource for their customers.

Process

Accordence’s channel partner, Mike Lockman of Achieving Sales Results, implemented our flagship program, Just Negotiate® customized to the company’s needs and provided coaching and strategy consulting.  The skill enhancement helped the 400 person sales force become more effective at developing win-win profitable relationships and stronger deals for themselves and their 400,000+ customers. Just Negotiate® encouraged the company’s sales force to develop a trusted-advisor relationship with their customers based on satisfying the needs and interests of both parties while increasing the value of the national trucking company for better, longer-term agreements.

Moving forward, the company will continue to coach and reinforce training with its sales force to ensure that its transportation solutions make the best sense and align both the company’s and the customer’s needs with true win-win collaboration.  As a result of implementing Just Negotiate®, their sales force now exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Develop account and customer meeting strategies which reflect the interests of all parties.
  • Plan for and achieve meeting advances that move the opportunity forward, instead of wasting a customer’s valuable time.
  • Embrace healthy tension in the customer relationship to promote candor and interactions that position the company as a “trusted-advisor” with mutual respect between all parties.
  • Craft mutually agreeable options that optimize the value of using this highly respected trucking company.

In addition to integrating Accordence’s Just Negotiate program, their sales force implemented a CRM system to track and catalog customer attributes and behaviors, ran “plays” based on key selling techniques, and utilized a software resource to mine customer information and develop statistical shipment, pricing and costing data. Customer attributes and data are now accessible on iPads (they were the first B2B company to approach Apple about the use of iPads for B2B selling) so that planning, information and communication are always at the sales professional’s fingertips. Paper collateral has been eliminated in favor of video collateral presentations.

Results

By transforming the way they conduct sales negotiations with their customers, the company met their key objectives of improved customer retention, increases in successfully negotiated and executed contracts, and greater profit margins.

The specific outcomes of this sales reengineering initiative have been remarkable. A reduced sales force now “touches” 45 percent more customers. Through the use of the ICON Approach and 4D planning strategy shared in Just Negotiate®, as well as effective sales inquiry techniques and access to customer data, 80% of sales calls are made at the correct time for the buyer with the correct strategy and/or questions for the customer. Prior to the arrival of these new tools, extensive skills retraining, and measurable sales processes, and key metrics, over 60% of sales calls were not valuable. And most recently, the organization won Silver in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales Department of the Year - Distribution & Transportation.

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