Small Tech Company Takes on Industry Giant with Negotiation Training
When a mega-vendor moved in on their territory,
the Camp Negotiation System succeeded when all else failed
- Closed a $100,000+ deal while competing against a much larger company.
- Secured crucial maintenance revenue to prevent bankruptcy.
- Avoided thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.
- Led to additional deals with the same client.
- Currently uses the system to close million-dollar deals on a regular basis.
In 2010, Nordic-based software vendor XLNT Optimization was in a tough spot. The small company had counted on $110,000 in maintenance revenue from a current client. However, a much larger technology vendor had just bought up the company whose software XLNT Optimization sold. The mega-vendor then informed XLNT Optimization’s long-term client that it would now be handling their software needs. As a result, the client was refusing to pay its bill, leaving the small technology company in the lurch.
“This all happened during the closing month for business, and without that revenue we wouldn’t have been able to pay our year-end taxes or our employee’s salaries,” says former owner of XLNT Optimization Ted Elvhage. “As a result, we would have gone bankrupt.”
Battling the Big Guys
Elvhage knew that in order to stay afloat, his business needed the long-term client to meet its commitments. However, negotiations with the client were getting nowhere. “There was so much emotion because this contract represented 15-percent of our annual revenue,” he says. “I needed something that would keep us on track despite the emotions that were flying around, but I wasn’t optimistic – I thought it was a lost cause.”
As a last-ditch effort, Elvhage purchased the book Start With No by global negotiation expert and coach Jim Camp. “After reading the book I immediately went to startwithno.com and signed up for the 90-day coaching and training program,” he says.
With the Camp Negotiation System on his side, Elvhage now had the tools he needed to go up against the industry powerhouse. “The most appealing part of Jim’s method is the fact that it is an actual system that could keep us on track,” he says. “I had read so much about negotiation but it was a never a step-by-step system and it always depended on compromise. This was the one time I couldn’t compromise because we needed the whole deal to preserve our business.”
Completing the Mission
With the help of a Camp Negotiation System coach, Elvhage established a mission and purpose for his negotiation and then re-engaged the reluctant client. “My coach helped me formulate the questions to ask that would help my customer build a vision and provide them with the opportunity to see the benefits of what we were offering,” says Elvhage.
The results of the system were instant. “The initial conversations went above what I ever expected,” says Elvhage. “Just by asking a couple of questions I helped them see that they couldn’t abandon our deal. After that it took just two phone calls with the software vendor to get everyone on the same page. By the end of the negotiation they felt paying their bill in full was a fair deal.”
Additional benefits soon followed. “Once the client saw we could handle their large contract they sent us all their smaller contracts as well,” says Elvhage. “But the biggest benefit was realizing that as a small company we could stand up to a global company and win a negotiation – that was a huge boost for us.”
The Success Continues
Today, Elvhage has disbanded XLNT Optimization and as sales manager for a global technology company he now closes million-dollar deals using the Camp Negotiation System on a regular basis. “I coach my team using the Camp System and have had tremendous success,” he says. “One of the best techniques the system teaches us is to make no assumptions when you go into a negotiation. With the Camp System you don’t have to worry about anticipating your opponent’s next move, you just listen and ask questions – it takes away a lot of the stress.”
Elvhage sees his investment in Camp’s coaching program as a bargain. “I received a 30-times return on my investment within two weeks.” Elvhage now frequently recommends the Camp Negotiation System – with one caveat. “I would strongly recommend it to anyone – unless they’re across from me at the negotiating table,” he says.