Adam Ayers studied mechanical engineering and built a software technology startup after graduating. He is now the Chief Technology Officer and founder of the company, Number5, which specializes as an outsource CTO for celebrities, eCommerce companies, and internet brands. Fifty percent of their operations involve running technology, and acquiring customers, for commerce businesses and executing the data science. The other fifty percent is on custom technology where they build platforms, APIs, and high-performance software on the internet.
Negotiate a mutual win
When Adam was a child he asked his father what inventors do and the response resonated with him. He was told the best inventors don’t just invent things, they are capable of selling what they’ve invented. That thought motivated him to make things himself, build a team, and sell the things he created himself. As an engineer, Adam has learned to think in frameworks and processes, finding that telling stories are effective ways to negotiate a mutual win and make a sale.
The biggest problem most salespeople face is the tendency to talk more and listen less. People want to be listened to, to be asked questions, and to be understood. This is a factor that other sales reps forget. No matter what you are selling, you must put the clients’ interests first. Listen to them, ask questions, and understand where they’re coming from. You learn to see their problem and present customers with a solution when you sincerely tune-in to what they are saying. This is how they make the buying decision, to trust the solution you present to them.
The ideal ratio is 80-20, where 80% is spent listening to the clients’ story and asking them questions while 20% is spent sharing a story about how you’re going to help solve their problems.
The book entitled, You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar emphasizes the Sandler sales submarine, with the initial point being we need to bond and build rapport with our customers. Showing compassion and kindness and asking people who they are and what they need is the first step to negotiate a mutual win.
The importance of self-awareness
It’s a trait that many salespeople need to master to negotiate a mutual win. Being who you are is important because that’s how you connect with people. While compromising is a good thing, you also want to be authentic. Your flaws as a salesperson will make you more human and more relatable to others. A corporate approach in sales is uncomfortable because ultimately everyone is just looking for a smart friend with whom they can make a connection when they’re being sold to.
Adam sells software development, customer acquisition, and data science. These are products the average person doesn’t understand but they know they need it to grow their business. He understands he needs to nurture confidence in his potential clients, that they want to feel good about hiring him. Adam highlights his previous experience, his background, who he’s already worked with, their integrity and what he’s already delivered.
Adam’s team doesn’t sell. Instead, they connect with people – they talk, dine, and get drinks.
While the sales process and negotiations are pretty straightforward, the reality is that it works for his team. When Adam knows that his services aren’t going to fit what the client needs, he is upfront and honest about it. Adam knows his customers need someone who can execute the tasks and if needed, communicate to the stockholders and investors what’s going on.
Unconventional approach works
This approach of combining tech expertise with a personal touch is the core of, Number5, a company name inspired by the1986 movie, Short Circuit. Sometimes, people are hired based on relationships and not on their knowledge about technology.
Their process on how to negotiate a mutual win is shaped around helping clients understand their needs and what their role is to make meet the company’s goals. Adam shows them how his team uses technology to deliver the solution efficiently and effectively.
One company Adam was an engineer for, had the Five Four Club, a men’s clothing line subscription, that quickly rose to popularity. The company needed the technology to keep up with its growth. Adam not only offered the tech to support the growth but as a leader, helped offer resources to build up the existing team. Adam didn’t have to explain how the tech worked but still offered suggestions on how employees could support it within their roles.
Clients say that Adam’s approach is abrasive and shocking until they get to know him. Once they see his process and his ability working for them, they’re on board.
Many salespeople aren’t just selling, they’re also doers. Sales grow with a better job of doing and executing.
Adam is always looking for different tools that will help from a market broad perspective and a sales perspective. For example, CrystalKnows is a plugin that helps you analyze the personality type of anyone’s LinkedIn profile. The results will give you an idea of how to communicate with that person. This is an amazing way technology can start connecting people more effectively and efficiently.
Technology is also helpful for companies that are looking to expand and hire people. The Sales Acceleration Formula, by Mark Roberge, shares it’s not just the experience that’s important, it’s the coachability of the salesperson and their ability to adapt.
“How to Negotiate a Mutual Win” episode resources
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