Thought Leaders: “Negotiating with Backbone” By Reed Holden

Jul 26, 2019 | Blog Articles, Thought Leaders


This is an outstanding sales tool that can help a Sales Leader communicate the concept of time/resource efficiency to a sales team.

Reed Holden segments customers into four easily identifiable groups. Then provides a common sense approach to determining if your team has the relationships at the requisite level to convey your company’s value proposition.

As the book asks, “Are you in or out . . .  a Player or the Rabbit . . .  the incumbent or column fodder . . .  In the Pack or an Outsider?”

Negotiating with Backbone offers eight strategies, which provide a foundation for Sales Leaders to establish a culture built on understanding the procurement mindset and how to prepare for a negotiation with the Procurement Buzz Saw.

by Scott Arnold

CEO, Concord Sales Leadership

Commit to mastering the strategies

Like any sound process, successfully incorporating Negotiating with Backbone into your sales organization will take a professional commitment to mastering Mr. Holden’s pricing and productivity strategies.

For example, the Give-Get strategy is fundamental to a front line sales rep as well as to the highest levels of executive management.

The product pricing and feature/value strategy must be designed into entry-level offerings. This provides a protective “fence” for the company’s higher priced products from commodity-like competitors.

The sales team can then be educated on the art of Negotiating with Backbone when discounts are requested by procurement. Value or “costs” must be removed in proportion to the discounts requested.

Author Reed Holden

Embrace the Gamesmanship

Another great Take-A-Way from the book is the recognition that procurement organizations have been perfecting buying strategies for decades. In order to level the playing field for sales organizations, Sales Leaders must commit to training their teams to recognize different types of Buyers and anticipate the games/strategies each are likely to employ.

Then embrace the Gamesmanship. It will be well worth the effort!