What is the secret sauce in every negotiation? How do you go from prospect to business partner? Cody Lowry—the President of Intermark Automotive—has learned the secret in his 25+ years in the marketing industry. It’s all about the schmooze. Schmoozing isn’t meant to be manipulative or coercive. It doesn’t mean you’re a smooth-talker. What does it mean?
Schmooze—or you lose
How do you find success in the negotiation and sales process? Cody points out that you must be genuine. In everything that you do, you must be genuine. It’s so basic but often forgotten. People try to make it more complicated than it needs to be.
You have to do your homework and ask questions. A potential client has to feel that you get it and that you understand their business. Cody has seen people make presentations who have no clue. They did a few minutes of research on LinkedIn but didn’t truly know the business they were presenting to. Cody has found that a sense of humor is key.
What else can help? Look like you enjoy being there and that you’re a fun person to be around. Cody is always the funny guy in the room.
People do business with people they like
If people don’t like you or feel uncomfortable around you, there’s a good chance they might look to see who else is out there. Why? Because people do business with people they like. When Cody goes into a meeting, he does pre-work before any negotiation. He knows the college they went to, the fraternity they were in, mutual friends, and more. He tries to find a common ground quickly. In the first 30 seconds, they’re already making a decision about you. So you must put your best foot forward.
He starts every negotiation with a power question. If he’s in there with the owner or the CEO, he always asks: “How did you get started?” They love that question. Their answer allows you to listen and take in data that will help you down the road. It also allows you to get to know them and understand them on a deeper level.
Dare to be different
At Christmas time, everyone gives automotive dealers cigars or scotch. Cody doesn’t do that. Dealers are consumed by their business 50-70 hours a week and often have very little time for their spouses. Cody recognized this early on, and at Christmas-time he would send a large Christmas arrangement to their home. They are delighted to get something so thoughtful and unique. Even better—that arrangement reminds them of Cody for weeks.
The THREE things that can set you apart
What is the true secret sauce? Cody emphasizes that you have to build relationships. Secondly, you have to build trust. Lastly, never let your clients down. Cody points out that the automotive field is very competitive. If you aren’t continuously taking your clients to the next level, another agency will get their attention.
Cody has had accounts on the books for 30+ years. Just to put that into perspective, a 5-year run is considered pretty good. How do you build a 30-year relationship? You build a 30-year relationship by building trust. You always tell the truth. You never tell white lies. It’s something Cody lives by. You have to be there for the customer and never let them down. If Cody makes a promise, he keeps it.
In episode #183 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast, Cody tells a story about a business relationship that changed his life! He also shares how his ability to schmooze has changed the game for him. Don’t miss out on his years of expertise. Listen now!